Chemical Test Refusal
Free Consultation With a Florida DUI Lawyer In Your Area:
When you are stopped by a police officer while driving under the influence, you may be asked to take a blood, urine or breath test. You may refuse, but you will face immediate administrative sanctions and possibly a suspension of your driving privileges. An experienced Florida DUI lawyer can help you turn this refusal into an advantage for your defense.
Contact us today to find out how by calling our 24/7 Florida DUI helpline at (800) 687-2252 to speak with an attorney. All phone calls are answered 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You may also search our Florida DUI Lawyer directory for a local Florida DUI attorney to discuss your case (by appointment only).
Upon being placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test such as a breath test, blood test or urine test. Should you refuse to submit to any chemical tests, two events will occur.
#1 – The law enforcement officer will immediately seize your Florida driver's license and your driving privileges will be immediately revoked.
#2 – The prosecutor’s office will proceed with a criminal case against you using your refusal to submit to a chemical test as evidence that you thought you were guilty of DUI.
If you refuse to take any form of DUI chemical testing, your chances for beating your DUI conviction are increased due to the fact it will be harder for the prosecution to prove driving under the influence without a positive chemical test result. The burden of proof that you were intoxicated or driving impaired will force the prosecutor to try and present a case based on less tangible evidence.
For a first test refusal offense, your Florida driver's license is likely to be immediately seized and suspended for 12 months and a commercial driver’s license or CDL license also will be suspended for 12 months.
A second test refusal will result in an automatic 18-month suspension of a Florida driver’s license and a permanent revocation of a CDL license.
For a third or subsequent DUI arrest where you refuse a breath test without prior refusals, you are facing a 12-month suspension. With a prior breath test refusal, you will face an18 month suspension.
Will I Be Convicted of a DUI When I Refuse a Chemical Test?
Most DUI charges are dropped when a subject refuses to submit to a DUI chemical test such as a breath, urine or blood test. However, this does not mean that you should not retain an experienced Florida DUI lawyer to represent you. Without qualified legal counsel, the prosecution may press forward with the criminal prosecution of your DUI case.
Factors that should be evaluated by an experienced Florida DUI lawyer:\
- Did the officer properly advise you about Florida’s Implied Consent Warnings?
- Did the driver technically "refuse" or was the driver unable to submit?
- Did the driver indicate that he or she wanted to speak with an attorney before taking the test?
- Was there a valid legal basis for stopping the vehicle or arresting the driver?
- Are there witnesses to substantiate the driver of the vehicle in an accident situation?
Florida’s Ten Day Administrative Hearing Challenge Rule
In Florida, you have a period of 10 days to fight the administrative suspension of your driver's license. These hearings are not automatic, and an experienced Florida DUI lawyer will file a demand for your Formal Review Hearing. This process is very helpful in defending your charges because it allows your attorney to subpoena the officers involved at the scene, the breath test technician and/or any other witnesses relevant to your DUI case.
The Formal Review Hearing provides your attorney with the opportunity to fight your driver’s license suspension and the ability to cross-examine any or all of the witnesses that will be used in your criminal trial.
DUI Refusal Defenses Raised By An Experienced Florida DUI Lawyer
A refusal to submit to a chemical test is only admissible in court when that law enforcement officer has proven full compliance to Florida's Implied Consent Statute, Section 316.1932(1)(a). This statute states that a driver on Florida roads has automatically consented to submit to an "approved" chemical test of the subject’s breath, urine or blood upon lawful arrest for driving under the influence.
Should you refuse to take the chemical tests, you will be moved to a room and video taped as the arresting officer reads you Florida’s Implied Consent Warning. Florida state law requires this.
Florida’s Implied Consent Warning
“If you fail to submit to the chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine,
your privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for a period
of one (1) year for a first refusal, or eighteen (18) months if your privilege
has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine or blood. Additionally, if you refuse to submit to the test I have requested of you and if your driving privilege has been previously suspended for a prior refusal to submit to a lawful test of your breath, urine or blood, you will be committing a misdemeanor (pursuant to Florida Statute 319.1939). Refusal to submit to the test I have requested of you is admissible into evidence in any criminal proceeding. Do you still refuse to submit to this test knowing that your driving privilege will be suspended for a period of at least one year and that you will be charged criminally for a subsequent refusal?”
Should Innocent Drivers Refuse to Submit to Chemical Testing?
As previously discussed, the prosecution will attempt to use your refusal to submit to a chemical test as evidence of your guilt. An experienced Florida DUI lawyer will carefully investigate your case to determine the appropriate defense to allegations that you refused a chemical test.
Some reasons people refuse to submit to chemical testing after a DUI arrest even if they believe they are innocent of a DUI include the following:
- Health concerns related to the maintenance or cleanliness of the instrument
- Miranda Rights confusion concerning “the right to speak with an attorney” before submitting to a chemical test
- Reliability concerns pertaining to a breath test machine and the possibility of producing a false positive
- Disbelief in the officer’s authority to request a breath, blood or urine test
- Medical problems that could affect testing
If you need immediate assistance, please call our 24/7 Florida DUI helpline at (800) 687-2252 to speak with an attorney. All phone calls are answered 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You may also search our Florida DUI Lawyer directory for a local Florida DUI attorney to discuss your case (by appointment only).