In Florida, if you refuse to perform a field sobriety test, you won't face any criminal penalties, but an officer is probably going to suspect you that much more. If you refuse a chemical DUI test, however, there will certainly be serious civil, possibly criminal penalties.
What happens if you refuse a blood, breath, or urine test?
- The first time, this will mean one year with a suspended driver's license
- Any subsequent refusals would result in 18 months' license suspension and in a jail sentence
This is because of implied consent law in Florida. This means that if you got your driver's license, you automatically agreed to take any chemical tests asked of you by an officer who suspects you are driving impaired. This implied consent applies to multiple tests; if you agree to take one test, but you refuse to take any additional test that is requested of you, you would still face the full penalties for refusal.
If you think it is worth it to take the driver's license penalty and avoid giving data to a prosecutor, think again. A failed DUI test can be contested by a skilled DUI attorney. And even if a prosecutor does not have a failed DUI test to hold up against you, he or she could still convict you of driving under the influence through other evidence, such as the arresting officer's testimony of your behavior and appearance.
Implied consent law also means that you could face serious penalties regardless of whether or not you were actually intoxicated, regardless of whether or not you are every convicted. You can be fully sober, and your DUI charges could be dropped, but if you refused a chemical DUI test, you would still be hit with a driver's license suspension penalty.
Sometimes, however, an officer mistakenly records that a driver refused a test when in reality, the driver actually took the test. For instance, if a driver's breath sample is too small for the test equipment to read, an officer might put down that the test was refused.
If you need to defend your driver's license in a DHSMV hearing, you have at most 10 days by which to act. If you need to fight a DUI charge, you can find the powerful, proven defense you need from a Tampa DUI lawyer at Thomas & Paulk, P.A.