Helping Individuals Accused of Test Refusal

What Are the Penalties for Refusing a DUI Test?

If you were arrested for a DUI and refused to take a breath or blood test, you may be at risk of losing your license. You have the right to request an administrative hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. You must schedule a hearing within 10 days of the date of your arrest—failing to schedule your hearing will affect your ability of fighting your DUI charges.

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, the officer has to caution the driver about these penalties. Failure to provide warning could mean an open opportunity to fight these penalties. 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 a breath test—from how the sample was taken, how it was sealed and stored, and how the sample was tested. However, the prosecutors could argue that your refusal was a sign of guilt and can try to prove 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, or a distracting situation. Although you may agree to take the sobriety test, there can still be serious consequences if your BAC results are high. Refusing to comply with a police officer can occur if a driver:

  • Does not provide two sufficient samples within the time limit.
  • Blows on the breathalyzer only once and refuses to blow any more times.
  • Does not explicitly state yes or no when asked to take a BAC test.
  • Becomes argumentative with an officer.

Can Prosecutors Convict on DUI Charges Without Chemical Tests?

If a driver refuses to take any DUI tests, the driver can still be charged and convicted of a DUI. In these cases, a police officer’s testimony would explain how you performed the field sobriety tests and how that showed you were intoxicated. In fact, they may even have video evidence to back up their description of these tests. Even apart from the field sobriety test, the officer could testify about smelling alcohol.

Build a DUI Defense Strategy. Call Thomas & Paulk, P.A.

Whether you refused or failed DUI tests, you may have ways to reduce your charge or have them dismissed entirely. If you choose the Tampa DUI lawyers from our firm, not only would you have 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. With more than 7,000 cases handled, we have the resources and experience to help you avoid steep fees, harsh penalties, and other consequences.

Find out how Thomas & Paulk, P.A. could help you when you schedule your free consultation. Call us today!

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DUI Defense in Florida

At Thomas & Paulk, one of our primary focuses is on the defense of DUI charges. In fact, we are recognized throughout the Tampa area as one of the premier DUI defense law firms. Our team is well-versed in this area of the law and has a wide-expanse of experience in helping our clients fight against such charges.

It doesn’t matter if this is your first offense or your third, you can count on our firm to protect your legal rights. Often, our defense starts with recounting with you how the police officer came to stop you in the first place and how he or she came to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol. If the stop was illegal, or the tests were improperly administered, we may be able to argue for the dismissal of that evidence in court, helping your chances of a dropped charge.

If you would like to learn more about how our team can help, contact us today.

  • If you're arrested for DUI, you only have 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing where you can fight to save your license.

  • A blood alcohol reading of 0.15% or more can warrant an aggravated DUI charge with harsher penalties.

  • Each year, Hillsborough County issues around 4,000 DUI citations. Out of these, more than 3,000 are found guilty.

  • Per Florida's zero-tolerance policy, anyone under the age of 21 who tests positive for any measurable blood alcohol can be charged with DUI.

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