Say a driver gets pulled over by a police officer, and the officer suspects they're drunk and so asks for a blood, breath, or urine test. Does the driver have to take the DUI test? According to Florida's implied consent law, yes. If you have a driver's license, this means that you have given implied consent to these DUI tests. Whenever there has been a lawful arrest for a suspected DUI, then the driver must submit to a blood, breath, or urine test in order to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) or to test for the presence of drugs. And if an officer asks for more chemical tests after the driver takes one, a driver will be penalized for refusing any additional tests as well. So if you're arrested and asked to take both a blood and breath test, you could face a host of penalties if you don't comply.
What are the penalties for refusing a chemical DUI test?
- For a first-time refusal: One year of license suspension
- Any following refusals: 18 months' driver's license suspension, jail, and fines
Before an officer penalizes a driver for refusing these tests, however, the officer has to caution the driver about these penalties. A failure to provide this warning could mean an opening to fight these penalties. And a DUI lawyer could also be able to challenge the lawfulness of the arrest, or find errors in the breath or blood tests themselves, especially if the test results were borderline. A number of errors can creep into the process, anywhere from how and when the sample was taken, how it was sealed and stored, and then how the sample was tested. To refuse a test, however, does not even take proof out of a prosecutor's hands, as they could argue that your refusal was a sign of guilt, and they can then argue that you were impaired through other details of your case.
A Note on Field Sobriety Tests
These tests, such as the one-leg stand (OLS) and walk and turn (WAT), are not covered by implied consent law, which means you would not face these penalties for refusing this type of test. Also, if you have failed a field sobriety test, this is something that a skilled DUI attorney may be able to challenge, as natural imbalance, anxiety, and a distracting situation are just a few of the many valid reasons you could have failed these tests.
Learn DUI Defense Strategies when You Call Thomas & Paulk, P.A.
Whether you refused or failed DUI tests, you may have ways to reduce your charge, or to beat the charge entirely. If you worked with Tampa DUI lawyers from our firm, not only would you have a former police officers and prosecutors working toward your defense, but you would be working with criminal defense lawyers in Tampa who have a phenomenal history of getting great case results for clients. Find out how we at Thomas & Paulk, P.A. may be able to help you when you schedule your
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