In Florida, it is not mandatory to provide a breath sample to police at the roadside or station, but there are penalties for refusing. If a person refuses a breath test, then the officers will read the implied consent warnings verbatim, which are meant to inform drivers that a refusal to give a breath sample may be used against them and will result in a one-year driver's license suspension. However, just because a person refused a breath test doesn't mean that they will definitely have their license suspended, because there are a number of things that can go wrong with the implied consent warnings. Those errors allow us to challenge the suspension.
The police cannot ask a person to submit to a urine test unless they have probable cause to believe that the person is under the influence of drugs as opposed to alcohol. If there is nothing that indicates to the police that the person is under the influence of drugs, then they have no legal right to ask for a urine sample. In some cases, a driver will admit to having taken their prescription medication that day, which is enough information for the police to request a urine sample. This is just one more reason why a driver suspected of DUI should not say anything to the police; if a person doesn't say anything, then they can't be misquoted. If a driver looks or behaves as though they are impaired but the breath test gives a result of 0.00, then that could serve as reason enough to suspect drug use and therefore request a blood test. Cases such as these can be challenged successfully.
The rule for blood samples in Florida is extremely complex. Many requests for blood samples are illegal. There are only two times when police can request a blood sample in Florida, and both of them begin with a motor vehicle crash. One is when someone has been killed or has suffered “serious bodily injury” in a crash, and the police reasonably suspect DUI. The other is when a crash has occurred, and the suspect “appears for treatment at a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility and the administration of a breath or urine test is impractical or impossible.” F.S. Section 316.1932(1)(c).
What Are The Consequences Of Refusing A Blood Or Breath Sample In Florida?
If someone refuses a breath sample (or a urine or blood sample which is properly requested), then their license will be suspended for one year. If a person consents to a test and the sample is over the legal level for alcohol, then their license will usually be suspended for six months, which means the penalty for a refusal is greater than the penalty for being over the legal limit. The problem is that the implied consent warnings inform people of what will happen if they refuse, but they do not inform people that consenting to the test and blowing over the legal limit actually carries a lower penalty.
What Are The Penalties For A First-Time DUI Conviction Under Florida Law?
The penalty for a first-time DUI conviction under Florida law is a mandatory adjudication, which means there is an actual conviction entered upon the plea. As a practical matter, that conviction will remain on the driver's record forever. The court has the option of withholding adjudication, which they might do for certain offenders who have never been in trouble before. A DUI conviction not only prevents a person from ever getting that DUI off of their record, but also makes them ineligible to have their records sealed or expunged in the state of Florida.
A first-time DUI conviction also carries a minimum of a $500 fine, a 12-month period of probation, a 10-day mobilization of the person's vehicle, a six to 12-month driver's license suspension, successful completion of DUI School, 50 hours' worth of public service volunteer work at a government or charitable organization, and completion of any recommended treatment. DUI School is a program that lasts 12 hours and costs about $300, and its primary goal is to identify problem drinkers who need counseling. These minimum penalties are enhanced if there are prior convictions or the breath or blood alcohol level is over .15.
For more information on Breath Testing In A Florida DUI Case, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (941) 219-5553 today.