Blood Draw Ruled Legal in DUI Manslaughter Case

In the case of the State of Florida versus Kleiber, the court ruled that wiping a DUI manslaughter suspect’s arm with a dry gauze before drawing blood does not invalidate the blood draw.

An officer investigating a fatal crash suspected that the defendant was under the influence and he took steps to draw blood. His blood draw kit had an iodine swab which met the requirements of Florida Administrative Code Rule 11D-8.012, which requires that the suspect’s skin be cleansed with an antiseptic that does not contain alcohol prior to the draw. The defendant said he was allergic to iodine, so a paramedic wiped his skin with a dry gauze.

Under Florida's implied consent statute, “[a]ny insubstantial differences between approved methods or techniques and actual testing procedures, . . . shall not render the test or test results invalid.” § 316.1933(2)(b), Fla. Stat (2010). Thus, minor deviations from the rules will not prohibit the test results from being presented, as long as “there is evidence from which the fact finder can conclude that the [test] itself remained accurate.” State v. Donaldson, 579 So. 2d 728, 729 (Fla. 1991).

In this case, the trial court erroneously applied a strict compliance test by concluding that the mere fact that dry gauze, rather than an antiseptic, was used to cleanse Kleiber's arm mandated suppression of the blood test results. The trial court failed to consider whether the blood test would still be reliable notwithstanding the use of dry gauze. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 11D-8.012(7) (“Notwithstanding any requirements in Chapter 11D-8, F.A.C., any blood analysis results obtained, if proved to be reliable, shall be acceptable as a valid blood alcohol level.”).

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