When you are pulled over for DUI in Florida, you face potentially very serious charges. While you certainly have rights, it is also important to remember that exercising your rights can still carry consequences. The law in Florida operates under a concept known as “implied consent,” in which just by getting behind the wheel you grant certain permissions to police, one of which is submission to a breath alcohol test or urine alcohol test. This article provides an overview of the consequences of refusing a breath or urine alcohol test in Florida, and how implied consent works in the state.
Implied Consent in Florida
Florida law uses a legal concept known as implied consent when dealing with potential DUI cases. What this means is that if you are lawfully detained by a police officer who has cause to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, they can require you to submit to a test of your breath or urine, and sometimes your blood, to check for the presence of alcohol or controlled substances. Note, controlled substances include prescription drugs.
You may even be asked to take multiple tests. For example, if an officer asks you to take a breath test and has a concern about the results, they can ask you to submit to a urine test as well. In certain situations you may be required to provide a blood sample for testing. You are already assumed to have agreed to take these tests the moment you get into your vehicle, and refusing them carries consequences.
Refusing a Breath, Urine, or Blood Alcohol Test in Florida
The consequences of refusing a breath or urine alcohol test in Florida involve immediate suspension of your driver's license. For a first offense, this suspension is for a year. For the second and each subsequent offense, your license can be suspended for 18 months. In addition, you may face additional consequences and misdemeanor charges. This can mean jail time.
Police cannot force you to submit to the breath or urine alcohol test—you do have the right to refuse. Doing so, however, carries the above penalties. In addition, if you are unconscious, police can administer a test even without arresting you. On the other hand, if the police do not give you a test, you do have the right to request one, and the officer must administer it. Finally, an officer is required under law to inform you of the penalties for refusing the test.
Florida DUI Attorneys
If you are faced with a charge of driving under the influence in Florida, you should seek the services of a qualified DUI attorney. It can be very confusing to know whether your rights have been violated. A qualified attorney can make sure that your rights are protected every step of the way, so that you get the defense you deserve. If you find yourself in such a situation, Koberlein Law Offices are here to help. Give us a call today for a no-obligation consultation regarding your case.