Judge to rule on Vero city police forcing blood tests in DUI cases

VERO BEACH — County Judge David Morgan heard arguments on Friday about the legality of the City of Vero Beach Police Department’s policy of taking blood samples from drivers who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test after being stopped for suspected drunk driving.Defense attorney Bobby Guttridge made the arguments on behalf of his client Tamara Iannuzzi, who was stopped by police on Nov. 19, 2009 for suspected drunk driving. After refusing to take the breath test, police took a blood sample after obtaining search warrant.Guttridge told Morgan the city went beyond its authority when it obtained the search warrant because state law only allows such a seizure when suspects are unable to to consent to a breath test due to serious injury.Assistant State Attorney William Long argued a suspected drunk driver’s blood alcohol content is evidence of a crime that can be forcibly  obtained if a driver refuses to take a breath test. Florida drivers agree to take a blood test when they obtain a driver’s license.Morgan is considering the arguments and will issue a written opinion in the next week.

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