Florida DUI: Refusing a Blood, Breath or Urine Test

Generally, Florida drivers are well-aware of that fact that it’s illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol. They tend to know that a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction will lead to a license suspension, fines, points on their driving record, and other hefty penalties.

However, few people understand DUI stops, especially as they pertain to rules, procedures, and laws. For instance, during a standard DUI stop, the police officer asks drivers to perform two types of tests: 1) a series of field sobriety tests, and 2) a chemical test in the form of a blood, breath or urine test.

What the vast majority of drivers don’t know is that when it comes to field sobriety tests and chemical tests: if you refuse to take one kind nothing bad will happen, but if you refuse to take the other, your driver license will be suspended automatically for one year. So, which is which? Our Tampa DUI attorneys answer your questions below.

Consequences of Refusing a Chemical Test

This is the type of DUI test you have to worry about. If you refuse to take a chemical test in the form of a blood, breath or urine test during a routine DUI stop, you will lose your driver license for one year, even if you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But nothing bad will happen if you refuse the field sobriety tests.

Here’s what the law has to say about it:

Under Section 316.1932(1)(a)1.a. of the Florida Statutes, it reads: “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 alcoholic content of his or her blood or breath if the person is lawfully arrested for any offense allegedly committed while the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.”

This is called implied consent; in short, if you want a driver license in Florida, you must consent to any chemical DUI test. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your Florida driver license will be suspended automatically for one year upon a first offense.

If your driver license was already suspended for refusing to submit to a chemical test, your driver license suspension would apply for 18 months and come with a misdemeanor charge under Florida law.

What If I Take & Fail a Chemical Test?

Let’s say you did drink some alcohol or take some type of drug (whether legal or illegal) and you’re pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You’re trying to decide whether you should take a chemical test or not. If you don’t take one, you know your license will be suspended for one year. But what if you do take one?

If you take a chemical test in the form of a blood, breath or urine test and either there is alcohol in your system or you test positive for a drug, these are the consequences for failing a chemical test:

First DUI Offense

  • A maximum fine of $1,000 for a blood alcohol level below .15%
  • Not more than nine months in jail
  • Impoundment of vehicle for 10 days
  • 180 days to one-year driver license revocation (without bodily injury)

Note: If you’re convicted of DUI and you want to get your driver license reinstated so you can drive to and from work, you will need to complete DUI School and request a DHSMV hearing for a hardship reinstatement. If your BAL was .15% or higher, you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device for a hardship reinstatement.

We hope this article cleared up your questions. For DUI defense representation in Tampa, contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. today.