If you are pulled over in Florida, and a law enforcement officer suspects you of DUI, you need to know your rights. Aside from providing basic information such as driver’s license, insurance, and registration, you do not need to answer any other questions or speak a word. Officers may try to coerce more information out of you, but Fifth Amendment protections mean you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.
You may think that it is beneficial to refuse a breath test or other field sobriety exams. Statistics show that nearly 40% of Florida motorists refuse field sobriety tests. However, there are penalties for refusal to cooperate with officers’ DUI investigations. Florida implied consent law applies to all motorists in the state. One refusal can result in automatic license suspension. Two refusals carry even harsher punishments.
If you’re arrested for DUI and refuse to take a breath test, it is important to hire legal counsel as soon as possible. The Ticket Lawyers are here to fight for you. Your case will be examined by our team of professionals who will determine if police acted properly and legally throughout the process. The Ticket Lawyers know that every DUI case is unique and requires special attention.
Start fighting your Florida DUI charge today.
Schedule a free consultation with The Ticket Lawyers now at (855)-323-8488.
There are a few different field sobriety tests that law enforcement officers use to collect evidence in a DUI investigation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists the standard tests police officers should conduct, but different police precincts may use different methods. Regardless of which tests they utilize, they must be considered legally admissible in court to be used as evidence against you.
Some field sobriety tests include:
All Florida driver’s license holders are subject to Florida’s implied consent law, outlined by Florida Statute 316.1932. When you accept the privilege to drive, you automatically consent to lawful requests for blood, urine, and breath tests to determine breath and blood alcohol content.
When a police officer has reasonable suspicion that a motorist is intoxicated, they can request chemical or physical tests to be conducted. Automatic penalties are applied if drivers refuse to cooperate. However, these tests must be conducted lawfully. There must have been probable cause to initiate a traffic stop, and reasonable suspicion after the fact to conduct field sobriety tests.
All drivers have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. Police cannot forcibly take a blood or a breath test. However, Florida implied consent law levels immediate penalties for refusals to submit to the exams. Even if you were not under the influence of alcohol, if tests were requested lawfully, you will be subject to strict penalties outlined by Florida Statute 322.2616.
Although refusal may prevent some evidence of intoxication while driving, the penalties are severe enough that refusal may leave you worse off than if you submit. There are other types of evidence police use in DUI arrests as well, so don’t think that refusing field sobriety tests will get you out of a Florida DUI.
Refusing field sobriety exams will not prevent you from being arrested for DUI. In fact, refusing to take field sobriety tests can result in an arrest on that basis if it is your second one on record. A prosecutor can also use your refusal against you as circumstantial evidence and argue that you were attempting to hide the fact that you were drunk.
It is important to contact legal counsel immediately if you refuse to take a field sobriety test, or you are under arrest for DUI. After your arrest, your lawyer must examine the causes of the traffic stop and whether police were within their rights to pull you over in the first place. If there was no probable cause, the DUI case could be thrown out, and your license suspension will be lifted.
Act quickly and call The Ticket Lawyers if you find yourself facing DUI charges after refusing to take a breath or blood test.
Florida implied consent law means that even if your DUI case is dropped, your initial refusal to submit to a field sobriety test is still considered a punishable offense. The above-listed penalties still apply.
The only way punishments for refusal can be avoided is if your lawyer proves police did not have probable cause to conduct tests in the first place. If it can be proven that police acted illegally, your license can be reinstated, and jail time for a second refusal can be evaded.
Law enforcement officers are not allowed to draw blood. Only licensed nurses, EMT’s, doctors, and other medical professionals are allowed to take a blood sample. When you’ve been arrested, there will be someone at the police station or in a specialized testing vehicle that will be allowed to take blood.
Police are required to receive consent for taking a blood sample from suspects under suspicion of DUI. However, if a blood sample is medically necessary, the police can use the sample to test for BAC without consent. For example, if a victim of a car accident is unconscious and in need of a transfusion, blood taken by doctors or nurses can then be used by police in the course of their investigation.
In short, if it is not medically necessary, you must consent to a blood test for the results to be admissible as evidence in a court trial.
Misdemeanor offense convictions such as refusal to take field sobriety tests can be expunged according to Florida Statute 943.059. The process takes anywhere from three to six months and requires complex paperwork to be completed. It will be useful to have a lawyer prepare these documents for you because there are many ways to make mistakes and have your application denied.
If you are convicted of a Florida DUI, you cannot have the record sealed or expunged. However, you can apply for an arrest record to be expunged if you were not convicted of the charge. If you were a minor at the time of your conviction, you might be able to have the records expunged. Adults do not have this ability.
Have you been arrested for DUI? Did you refuse to take field sobriety tests and now face additional penalties?
Contact The Ticket Lawyers today. Police officers often cut corners and conduct their DUI investigation without probable cause. With our legal representation, you can fight back against illegal traffic stops and DUI arrests.
Don’t let a DUI mark you for life.
Call The Ticket Lawyers now at (855)-323-8488.
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