Florida Law Mandating Drug Screens for Welfare Recipients Ruled Unconstitutional

Notable Clearwater Attorney, Antonio Viera, of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., speaks out about the U.S. Districts recent ruling striking down a law that requires drug testing for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

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Tony Viera, attorney with the law offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.

“There is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied."

Clearwater, FL (PRWEB) January 18, 2014

Attorney Antonio L. Viera of the prestigious Tampa Bay law firm of Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett feels the U.S. District Court’s recent ruling striking down a law that requires drug testing for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a bad decision.

On Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, Federal Judge Mary Scriven issued a summary judgment order in favor of welfare applicant Luis Lebron, who refused to submit to a drug test in order to receive TANF benefits because there was no reason to suspect he used illegal substances. Judge Scriven held, “there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied."

The controversial drug testing law, enacted in May 2011, requires welfare recipients to pay the up-front costs of drug testing. The state will reimburse the costs if the results are negative. A positive drug screen will make a TANF applicant ineligible for assistance for one year. The recipient may reapply for welfare benefits after six months if he provides proof of completing substance abuse treatment.

The statute was only in effect briefly before Judge Scriven issued a preliminary injunction in October 2011 ordering the temporary suspension of suspiciousness drug testing. Almost three percent of those tested under the new law in 2011 received positive drug results.

Attorney Antonio L. Viera believes Judge Scriven’s decision to declare Florida Statute Section 414.0652 unconstitutional is huge news in the state of Florida, where there are 92,000 TANF recipients. Viera disagrees with Judge Scriven’s ruing, however. “Because employers are increasingly mandating drug testing for prospective employees and the state is interested in pushing more TANF recipients off of public assistance and into the workforce, the new law was a step in the right direction,” said Viera. Viera warns that the government still has an opportunity to appeal the ruling and has promised to do so.
To view the U.S. District Court’s Dec. 31 order, link here. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1001068-court-bans-tanf-drug-testing.html

This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

About Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett , P.A.
The law firm of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. was founded in 1971 by attorneys Ed Carlson and Paul Meissner. For more than four decades, they have been committed to protecting the injured and defending the accused. Their attorneys have established a solid reputation of case success throughout Florida, providing strong legal representation, easy accessibility and a high level of dependability. A client-centered approach ensures that clients know what is happening as their case progresses, and understand their options every step of the way. With a focus on personal injury, they help victims of auto accidents, slip and falls and wrongful death accidents. The firm is well-known for their innovative criminal defense work, defending both local and high-profile clients. Attorney and Partner Kevin Hayslett is widely recognized as The Attorney to the Stars, providing strong legal representation for notable celebrities and dignitaries throughout Florida. The firm also handles social security disability, workers compensation, divorce, family law and immigration cases. They offer free initial consultations and have five convenient Tampa Bay Area locations. Attorneys are available 24/7 for emergencies. Count on the legal team of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. to be there, fighting for you, protecting your rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 877-728-9653 or visit their website at http://www.CarlsonMeissner.com