DUI Refusal Penalties: Let us Help You Deal With Them
Refusal to take a breath, urine or blood test can have serious, if not, life-long consequences if you are convicted of DUI. Additionally, your failure to perform Roadside Field Sobriety Exercises can be used against you at trial. With the stakes so high, let an aggressive, competent and experienced DUI defense attorney look at your case. We are happy to educate you about the state laws and defenses that have worked for us in the past. Call us now for a Free no obligation consultation.
Should You Refuse to Take a Mandatory DUI Test in Florida?
In Florida, the consequences for refusal are milder than those for a DUI, however, you could still go to jail if you have refused to take a test more than once. If you are convicted of a DUI, then you face hefty fines, jail time, and perhaps installation of an ignition interlock device on your car. Refusing the test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted – you can still be found guilty of a DUI. A refusal makes it harder for the prosecution to prove its case against you because they don’t have proof that your BAC was over.08%. But the prosecution can use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and guilty of DUI.
Florida law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Florida’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC) or for drugs. Also, you may be asked to take more than one test. If the officer first chooses a breath test, then he or she has the option to make you take an additional test, which you cannot refuse without penalty.
Once you are arrested, the officer should tell you that if you refuse to take the test, your license will be suspended and that your refusal can be used against you in court. The officer should also tell you that if you have had your license suspended before for refusing a chemical test, then this subsequent refusal counts as a misdemeanor in addition to having your license suspended again.
You can read Florida’s implied consent law in the Florida Statutes Annotated 316.1932.
DUI Refusal to Submit to Breath, Blood or Urine Testing
Because proving a driving under the influence charge is more difficult without any proof of the alcohol concentration of the driver’s breath or blood, or any proof that the driver had any controlled substance in his system, the Florida legislature has provided for certain consequences after a refusal to submit to chemical testing including a longer period for the administrative suspension. Additionally, the prosecutor is often permitted to argue at trial that the fact that the driver refused to submit to testing on the breath test machine (called the Intoxilyzer 8000 breathalyzer) is evidence of the driver’s “consciousness of guilty.”
If you have been arrested for DUI involving a refusal to submit to chemical testing of your breath, blood or urine, contact Arnesen Law, P.A. to speak with experienced DUI defense attorney Jay M. Arnesen.
First Offense DUI Refusal – Administrative Suspension
After your DUI arrest you only have 10 days to request a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. If you retain our attorneys to represent you, we will help you obtain a 42 day permit so that you can continue driving while we fight the administrative suspension.
If you do nothing, then after the 10 day permit expires, you will serve out the one year revocation with a 90 day hard suspension (which means that during those first 90 days you cannot drive for any reason). After the 90 day hard suspension you can apply for a hardship license that will permit you to drive for “employment purposes only” or “business purposes only.” There is no downside to fighting to invalidate the administrative suspension. In fact, even if you are unsuccessful, the evidence gained during that hearing can be used to fight the criminal accusation pending against you.
Second Offense DUI Refusal – Administrative Suspension
If your driver’s license has previously been administratively suspended for refusing to submit to a breath test, and you are again charged with refusing to submit, you are looking at an 18 month suspension with an 18 month hard suspension. In other words, if you are unsuccessful in invalidating the suspension, you will serve out the rest of the 18 month period with no ability to drive in the State of Florida for any reason.
In a DUI case involving a second refusal it is particularly important to seek out an attorney who can aggressively fight the administrative suspension. By obtaining the 42 day permit you are able to continue driving during that period until your hearing takes place. If your attorney is successful in invalidating your suspension, then you can get your driver’s license back while you fight the pending criminal charges.
The penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test are found in the Florida Statutes Annotated 316.1932 and 775.082.