Commentary by Lee Gill Cohen:
In July of 2013, I gave my annual DUI Case and Legislation Update at the Institute of Police Technology and Management Symposium on Alcohol and Drug Impaired Driving in St. Petersburg Beach. In two full sessions, I lectured approximately 250 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, civilian employees, and officials from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, updating them on DUI and search and seizure case law from around the State of Florida, including Pennnington v. State, 100 So.3d 193 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012)(DUI Manslaughter case with collision between sport utility vehicle and motorcycle with no witnesses with an excellent discussion on circumstantial evidence and accident reconstruction experts); State v. Hinman, 100 So.3d 220 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012)(validating what has become common questioning by officers during traffic stops concerning the driver having any weapons and drugs in the car) Damian v. State, 108 So.3d (Fla. 5th DCA 2013) and Springer v. State, 2013 WL 811673 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013)(invalidating stops for missing rearview and sideview mirrors); Kidder v. State, 2013 WL 2494704 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013)(DUI Manslaughter case where defense required to turn over to State privately obtained blood samples as reciprocal discovery).
We reviewed the landmark case that just came out of the United States Supreme Court Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S.Ct. 1552 (U.S. 2013) that arguably overturned 47 years of precedent established by Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966) wherein the Court found that dissipation of alcohol in the human body, standing alone, does not establish exigent circumstances justifying a forced blood draw and that a warrant should be sought.
We also discussed pertinent legislative changes from the 2013 legislative session including the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law (where the exceptions clearly swallow the rule) and significant changes to the Bureau of Administrative Review license suspension hearings concerning DUI cases.
Suffice it to say, the law still remains fluid, ever-changing.