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Florida DUI involving crash and blood draw, taken to hospital by ambulance, police on scene hour later

Orlando, FL |

I was involved in an accident in Florida after drinking. I do not recall anything that occured but I cannot tell if this was due to drinking or hitting my head (I was unconscious for some time and was given a variety of head scans at the hospital)

I awoke at the hospital and informed of the accident, a highway patrol officer spoke to me there and asked about my drinking which I denied and then left it at that. I hit another car in the accident and the driver sustained minor injury (bruising). I was released within hours. I do know that I had blood drawn for the purpose of testing BAC while unconscious.

It has been 30 days and no charge or arrest yet. Insurance company has paid all damages and closed claim.

Should I wait to speak to an attorney, or do so now? Any hope? I have no priors.

Additionally just to specify, the accident occurred around 2 am, the ambulance came in under a half hour, the officer did not arrive on the scene until about 2 hours later at 4am at which point they signed the paperwork to get my car towed and then came to visit me about 4:30 which was when I first spoke to any law enforcement. Not sure if that counts for anything. Because of the crash I know I cannot do pre-trial diversion in Florida and know its a first-degree misdemeanor, I have no hopes of the charge simply not coming, the time is torture more than anything I almost want it to just come, anything remotely hopeful about my case?

Attorney Answers 5


It would be advisable to consult with an attorney in case your BAC comes back at over a .08. There are numerous potential issues to work through which could result in the suppression of the blood draw. Right now and over the past month, law enforcement likely has been working on the case to secure evidence to potentially charge you with a crime. There is lost time that you need to make up if you are going to be facing a criminal charge. Witnesses need to be interviewed, your medical records can be requested. More importantly, if you have counsel, the police are more likely to allow you to turn yourself in at a pre-determined time rather than arrest you wihtout notice. An attorney can contact the police officer to get the status of the investigation. Also, bond is an issue that can be addressed. In many Florida counties, bonds on DUIs with accidents/property damage/injuries are inordinately high, but can be redressed with the State or a judge prior to arrest.

These are only some quick points on your situation. For more info, see below

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While I understand the tension you are experiencing over this, I must say that you should not post incriminating facts on any website or forum nor speak to any authorities if asked. You should retain a lawyer if, for nothing else, the purpose of having one immediately available to ask for should the authorities come coming.

My colleague is correct that there is much to be done if you are charged. Blood drawn at the hospital at direction of doctors for the purpose of medical diagnosis has a slightly different legal standing than blood drawn for investigation and a lawyer would need to examine your records and interview witnesses as early as possible in order to clamp that information down in the best way.

I find it odd that police did not respond to a two vehicle accident with injuries for such a long period of time, but odd things happen from time to time. If there is a charge conference going on in some prosecutor's office, they need not rush the issue - they have plenty of time to make charging decision and this is exactly what is driving you to distraction.

Consult with a DUI and criminal lawyer in your area - at least start meeting with a few and get rates and a sense of who they are. Use the time wisely and find one who will take a retainer to be your attorney of record while not necessarily charging you yet for a full-up representation of the charge, with the understanding that you will need to pay for that full representation should the charges come.

If you are charged, invoke your right to silence and request your lawyer. If you don't hire anyone now, still invoke your right to silence and request a lawyer if you cannot afford one. Good luck and try to remain calm and use the time to your advantage.

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I would like to discuss the circumstances of YOUR injuries. Under certain circumstances, you might have a valid claim for your injuries. Email me your contact info:

Dennis Phillips, Esq. Florida personal injury & wrongful death plaintiff’s attorney.
Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Mensa, Florida Bar, American Association for Justice, Florida Justice Association, Palm Beach County Justice Association, Broward County Justice Association. Negligence is no "accident" (TM)

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The delay is solely a function of your blood sitting around the FDLE lab waiting to be tested. If you want to have an idea of whether your legal blood draw taken by the cops will be over .08, you can look at your medical records and look at the results for your ethanol levels (~ 15% difference). Either way, for the above reasons the other attorneys told you about, you'll want to hire an attorney as soon as possible to start working on the case if you have any suspicion that you might be charged with DUI. Hopefully, the other person did only suffer minor injuries, or else you could be looking at more serious penalties. Based on my experience, it can be 3 or 4 months before you get charged. If it's misdemeanor DUI w/ injuries, they'll probably give you a UTC (uniform traffic citation) and a summons to appear. Prosecutors here in Orlando rarely get involved with filing an Information on misdemeanor DUI.

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to add to what mr. jay and mr. mosca already wrote, the reason for the delay has more to do with the backup at the lab in terms of being able to get to the analysis of your blood sample. they have a large case-load, so it takes time for the lab to conduct the analysis on the sample and submit the results to both the state attorney's office and the dmv. the time frame you mentioned is not unusual at all. chances are, they will get to it. and i would expect a 'notice to appear' or what's called an 'issue summons' to come from a process server or the sheriff's department. chances are, they won't arrest you. they'll simply 'serve' you with the date and time you are required to come to court to enter a plea of guilty or not-guilty. also, dmv will send you a letter giving you a time frame within which to challenge the DUBAL (driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level). make sure you follow the instructions on the notice. in the mean time, i also agree you may want to to to the hospital and gather your medical records and take them to a qualified, experienced, DUI-defense lawyer. he or she will tell you how to proceed in your own best interest.

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