State v. Bodden

Decision Date15 April 2004
Docket NumberNo. SC03-622.,SC03-622.
PartiesSTATE of Florida, Petitioner, v. Anthony BODDEN, Respondent.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Charles J. Crist, Jr., Attorney General, Robert J. Krauss, Chief-Assistant Attorney General, Bureau Chief, Tampa Criminal Appeals, and Jenny Scavino Sieg, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, FL, for Petitioner.

Eilam Isaak, Tampa, FL, for Respondent.

PARIENTE, J.

In State v. Bodden, 872 So.2d 916 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002), the Second District Court of Appeal certified the following question of great public importance:

IN ADMINISTERING FLORIDA'S IMPLIED CONSENT LAW, IS THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT REQUIRED TO ADOPT RULES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FLORIDA ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES [SIC] ACT GOVERNING THE COLLECTION, PRESERVATION, AND ANALYSIS OF URINE SAMPLES OBTAINED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 316.1932(1)(a), FLORIDA STATUTES.1

Because we conclude that section 316.1932(1)(a)(1), Florida Statutes (2002), does not require that urine testing procedures be promulgated by rule in accordance with the Florida Administrative Procedure Act (APA), we answer the certified question in the negative.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case arises out of charges that Bodden was driving under the influence in violation of section 316.193(1), Florida Statutes (2002).2 During a traffic stop the police officer noticed that Bodden had red eyes and slurred speech, swayed while he stood, and smelled of alcohol. The officer read Bodden the implied consent warning, and Bodden agreed to a breath test and a urine test. The breath test results indicated that Bodden's blood-alcohol level was between .060 and .065 percent. The urine test results indicated the presence of a controlled substance.

Bodden filed two motions in limine requesting that the trial court suppress any reference to his urine test results because no regulatory criteria for testing had been promulgated in accordance with chapter 120, Florida Statutes (2002) (the APA). Bodden argued that section 316.1932, part of the implied consent law pertaining to the operation of motor vehicles,3 requires that any scientific test conducted pursuant to the implied consent law, including a urine test, be an approved test.4 At the hearing on the motion, the State provided expert testimony regarding the urine testing procedures employed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Crime Laboratory in Tallahassee and verified that although FDLE procedures were adapted from published methods, FDLE's specific procedures had not been published or promulgated in accordance with the APA.

The county court judge determined that the implied consent law required that urine testing procedures be promulgated in accordance with the APA, and granted Bodden's motions to suppress. The county judge also certified to the Second District Court of Appeal the same question the Second District subsequently certified to this Court in this case — that is, whether section 316.1932(1)(a)(1) requires that urine testing procedures be approved through formal rule promulgation in accordance with the APA.5

The Second District answered the question in the affirmative. See Bodden, 872 So.2d at 917. According to the Second District, the sole question to be answered was whether the term "approved" in section 316.1932(1)(a)(1) refers to urine tests as well as breath and blood tests. See id. The Second District determined that the implied consent statute was an ambiguous criminal statute, and, as such, should be construed in favor of the accused. Id. Interpreting the same statute under similar factual circumstances, the Fifth District Court of Appeal in State v. Pierre, 854 So.2d 231 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003), reached a decision contrary to that of the Second District in Bodden. In Pierre, the Fifth District concluded that section 316.1932, taken as a whole, "evinces an unambiguous intent that urine tests need not be approved." See id. at 233. The Fifth District in Pierre certified conflict with Bodden. See id. at 232.6

ANALYSIS
A. Certified Question

The certified question presents the narrow issue of whether section 316.1932 requires that procedures for the collection, preservation, and analysis of urine samples be promulgated and approved by rule in accordance with the APA. As in all cases in which we are called upon to construe a statute, we begin with the language used by the Legislature in the specific statutory provision.

Subsection (1)(a)(1) provides in pertinent part:

Any person who accepts the privilege extended by the laws of this state of operating a motor vehicle within this state is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test including, but not limited to, an infrared light test of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcohol content of his or her blood or breath, and to a urine test for the purpose of detecting the presence of chemical substances as set forth in s. 877.111 or controlled substances....

(Emphasis supplied.)

The key to the resolution of the narrow issue we confront is whether the word "approved" in section 316.1932(1)(a)(1) modifies "urine test." An "approved" test under this provision is one that is adopted through rule promulgation in accordance with the APA. See § 120.54(3), Fla. Stat. (2003);7see also State v. Bender, 382 So.2d 697, 699 (Fla.1980) (recognizing that approved testing methods are those which have been adopted in compliance with the implied consent statutory provisions and the administrative rules). We have recognized that one purpose of establishing uniform, approved testing methods is to "ensure reliable scientific evidence for use in future court proceedings and to protect the health of those persons being tested." Bender, 382 So.2d at 699. The results of tests that must be approved "are admissible into evidence [under the implied consent law] only upon compliance with the statutory provisions and the administrative rules enacted by its authority." Id. at 699. In this case, if "approved" modifies "urine test" then FDLE must promulgate uniform rules for urine testing in accordance with the APA, which requires a notice and public hearing. To make the determination as to whether "approved" modifies "urine test," we must engage in statutory construction.

We have explained that as a fundamental principle of statutory construction, "legislative intent is the polestar that guides the Court's inquiry." State v. Rife, 789 So.2d 288, 292 (Fla.2001) (quoting McLaughlin v. State, 721 So.2d 1170, 1172 (Fla.1998)); see also M.W. v. Davis, 756 So.2d 90, 100 (Fla.2000) (same). Legislative intent is derived primarily from the language of the statute. See Rife, 789 So.2d at 292. Thus, "it is axiomatic that in construing a statute courts must first look at the actual language used in the statute." Woodham v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., 829 So.2d 891, 897 (Fla.2002); see also Joshua v. City of Gainesville 768 So.2d 432, 438 (Fla.2000). Applying that principle of statutory construction, we conclude, contrary to the Second District, that the language of the implied consent law provides that the methods for conducting urine tests are not required to be "approved" through APA rule promulgation.

We begin with the actual language used by the Legislature in section 316.1932(1)(a)(1). As we have explained,"[t]he legislature is presumed to know the meaning of words and the rules of grammar, and the only way the court is advised of what the legislature intends is by giving the generally accepted construction, not only to the phraseology of an act, but to the manner in which it is punctuated." Florida State Racing Comm'n v. Bourquardez, 42 So.2d 87, 88 (Fla.1949); see also State v. Hubbard, 751 So.2d 552, 562 (Fla.1999) (relying on Bourquardez for this principle of statutory construction); Beach v. Great Western Bank, 692 So.2d 146, 152 (Fla.1997) (same), aff'd sub nom. Beach v. Ocwen Fed. Bank, 523 U.S. 410, 118 S.Ct. 1408, 140 L.Ed.2d 566 (1998).

The grammatical structure of the first sentence of section 316.1932(1)(a)(1) is such that the implied consent deemed to have been given by an operator of a motor vehicle applies equally to two independent, unrelated tests — the first an "approved chemical test" to determine blood- or breath-alcohol level, and the second a urine test to determine the presence of chemical or controlled substances. The grammatical structure can be illustrated as follows:

A person who accepts the privilege extended by the laws of this state of operating a motor vehicle within this state is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit
to an approved chemical test or physical test including, but not limited to, an infrared light test of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood or breath,
and
to a urine test for the purpose of detecting the presence of chemical substances as set forth in s. 877.111 or controlled substances,

As is illustrated, "approved" directly modifies only "chemical test." It does not modify "urine test." In order to accept Bodden's argument that "approved" modifies "urine test," this Court would be required to insert the word "approved" between "a" and "urine," so that the implied consent created by the statute applies "to an approved urine test." This we decline to do. The plain language of this section demonstrates that "approved" does not modify "urine test."8

In the alternative, Bodden argues that the Legislature intended for "urine test" to fall within the subset of included approved chemical tests. However, the language of section 316.1932(1)(a)(1) in its entirety "makes a distinction between the two tests in numerous places ..., evincing that urine tests are not merely subsets of `chemical tests.'" Pierre, 854 So.2d at 233. For example, this section explicitly...

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