When a police officer stops a motorist on the suspicion of a DUI, one of the first steps the officer will take is to assess the motorist for any identifiable signs of impairment. Thereafter, the officer may ask the motorist to submit to a breath test to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. You do not have the right to have a attorney represent you at this phase of the investigation.
The Broward DUI attorneys at The William Moore Law Firm has years of experience in representing individuals arrested for driving under the influence in Fort Lauderdale. Charges for a DUI are considered Criminal Charges under the Florida Law. It is important to know your rights and seek out legal representation if arrested for this offense. Contact the DUI Attorneys at William Moore Criminal Defense for answers to any questions that you may have.
Not every driver is willing to provide a breath sample for testing. The law ensures that a police officer cannot force a DUI suspect to submit to the test. Nearly 20 percent of DUI suspects in the United States refuse to submit themselves to a breathalyzer test or another BAC test when an officer stops them on the suspicion of driving under influence.
Facts to Consider
These are the national figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but the figures for each state may vary. An individual held on the suspicion of DUI should consult with a DUI attorney to protect his or her legal rights. An attorney is likely to have more leverage to defend the client if breath test results are not available. However, the refusal to submit to a breath test comes with penalties for the defendant.
Law of Implied Consent
The law of implied consent in DUI cases is applicable in all the states including Florida. When a motorist applies for a driver’s license, he or she gives an implied consent to chemical tests or field sobriety tests to determine impairment. If a police officer has a reasonable suspicion of the motorist’s impairment due to alcohol or other controlled substances, the driver cannot refuse to submit to a DUI test if requested by the officer.
The drivers who refuse to submit to such a test when requested, carry the risk of having their driver’s license suspended along with the possibility of additional penalties. In such situations, it may be advisable for a driver to get in touch with an experienced DUI lawyer to protect his or her rights under the law.
Consequences of Refusal of Breath Test
State laws determine the consequences that a motorist may have to face in case of a refusal to submit to the breathalyzer test. Even though there is a considerable variation in the state laws on this issue, the majority of states impose an automatic license suspension for the driver for a period ranging between six and 12 months upon refusing to submit to a BAC test. If the driver has a previous record that correlate with DUI conviction(s), a refusal to submit to a BAC test may lead to an increase in the term of suspension, and sometimes even include jail time, probation, community service, and so on.
If the license is suspended due to a BAC test refusal, the auto insurance company may also cancel the driver’s insurance policy. If the driver is pronounced guilty of DUI after having refused the BAC test, the penalties are likely to be enhanced. Refusal rates in different states usually vary depending on the severity of penalties imposed following a refusal.