Police and other law enforcement personnel in Florida are working hard to reduce the number of deaths on state roads, and they plan to come down hard on drunk drivers in order to do so. If police believe you are driving erratically and may be under the influence, they may pull you over and request that you participate in roadside tests/exercises. If you decline, they may arrest you anyway at which time they will ask you to submit to a test of your blood alcohol content. Likewise, if you get stopped for any lawful reason and they can articulate reasonable suspicion of impairment, they also initiate a DUI investigation. As an exception to the rule, if you are under 21 years of age they can do a portable breath test at the roadside without arresting you which can result in suspension of your driving privileges for blowing above a .02 or refusing. At this stage, it is important to know your rights, as well as the consequences of your decision however you choose to proceed.
At Leader & Leader P.A., we help people who are facing criminal charges like DUI, and we may be able to advise you on how best to act under your specific circumstances. Michael D. Leader is a trusted and respected Fort Lauderdale criminal and DUI defense attorney who has received recognition for his ability in the courtroom, and we have more than six decades of combined legal experience at our firm. Mr. Leader has dedicated his career to the art of winning DUI and other criminal charges.
Do not take a chance with your DUI or other criminal charges. Contact us today at 954-523-2020 to schedule an appointment. We can assess your situation and provide guidance on how to proceed. You can also check us out at www.criminallawleader.com
Here is what you can expect if you refuse to take a BAC test in Florida:
Implied Consent in Florida
If you drive on Florida roads, state law requires that you take a blood, breath or urine test following a DUI arrest, according to Florida Statutes. The Florida implied consent rule means that if a police officer has probable cause to believe you are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, you consent to the test. Generally, you will be asked for a breath or urine test, if not both. They must be able to articulate a basis for concerns of drug impairment as opposed to just alcohol to request urine. However, if a breath or urine test is impossible or impractical (i.e. you are taken to the hospital for injuries and are not expected to be released within a few hours) they can request blood. The only time they can lawfully force blood is in the event of serious bodily injury or death as a result of a car crash.
In most circumstances, you have the option to refuse the test, but you must be prepared to face an automatic penalty for doing so. The courts may suspend your license, and the prosecutors may use the refusal against you if the matter goes to court.
Penalties for Refusing a Test
If you refuse to take a test after a Florida DUI arrest, you face potentially harsh penalties. If this is the first time you are refusing a BAC test, you face a one-year license suspension. If you refuse to take the test a second or subsequent time, the court may suspend your license for 18 months. You may also face additional consequences, including possible jail time as a second refusal is a separate misdemeanor offense.
Even if you give a breath sample and blow over a .08, your license will still be suspended but for a shorter period of time (generally six months).
In the event of any suspension (refusal or BAC over a .08) you must take action within TEN (10) days to challenge the suspension or your forever waive the right. In many instances, a competent DUI defense lawyer can demonstrate legal issues with the stop, arrest, breath testing or some other aspect of the case in order to have the administrative suspension invalidated resulting in the return of your license. You also may be eligible for a temporary license while you wait for your hearing (which is supposed to be within 30 days of the request). You also may be eligible for a program, if this is your first offense, in which you can waive your formal review hearing and are given a hardship license for the entire period of your suspension as opposed to doing nothing or fighting the administrative suspension and losing; in either instance you will have a period that you cannot drive at all until you can get a hardship license.
You can refuse to take the test under most circumstances; however, the state may have a right to take blood and test for alcohol if you are unconscious. You may also request a blood test following a DUI arrest, and in those circumstances, the officer must make such testing available to you.
If you are facing Florida DUI or criminal charges, contact Leader and Leader P.A. We have extensive DUI and criminal law experience, and we can evaluate your situation to determine the best way to proceed.
We are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for an initial consultation. Call Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer Michael Leader today at 954-523-2020 to schedule an appointment.