Implied Consent for Breath Tests Under Florida Law
If you are pulled over and asked to submit to a breathalyzer, do you have to do so? The short answer an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer would give you is yes. Refusing is not likely to prevent an arrest. Florida has an implied consent law, which provides that anyone who drives on Florida roads - even with an out-of-state driver's license - has automatically agreed to submit evidence to the police if necessary to determine sobriety. Usually that means a breath test, but the police can also check your blood or urine, especially if they believe you are under the influence of drugs. Numerous motorists throughout Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties face this issue each year. In 2005, the federal Department of Transportation reported that Florida had the highest breath test refusal rate in the country at 37%.
Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorney William Moore Navigates the Waters of Implied Consent and the DMV on a Regular Basis for His Clients
Refusing to submit to a breath test will have consequences. If you are prosecuted for DUI, the state can use your refusal against you. The first time you refuse is not a criminal offense, but the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license for one year explains Ft. Lauderdale DUI Defense Lawyer William Moore.
Appeals must be filed within 10 days of refusal. After 90 days, you may be eligible for a hardship license to drive to your place of work. You will have to complete a class on substance abuse and driving. If you refuse a breath test on two or more separate occasions, the DMV will suspend your license for 18 months and you will not be eligible for a hardship license during that period. As with the first offense, you can appeal the DMV decision within 10 days of your driver's license suspension. It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney quickly after your arrest to assist with your appeal. Additionally, if you refuse a breath test two or more times, the refusal is a criminal offense itself, separate from a DUI.
Even if you refuse a breathalyzer, the prosecutor may still be able to prove your intoxication based on other factors. Declining to take the breath test is not a get-out-of-jail free card. For example, police officers and other witnesses might testify about behavior, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, and field sobriety tests. If you submit to blood and urine tests, those can also show intoxication, including detection of a variety of substances other than alcohol. A DUI conviction can result in a prison sentence, even if it is your first time. See the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles DUI page for details. If you submit to a breath test and blow over the legal limit of 0.08 your license will only be suspended for 180 days to one year following your first offense, but you will also be subjected to criminal penalties if you are convicted of DUI.
Because of the complicated nature of DUI law, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney before you make these decisions. DUI convictions can result in hefty fines and jail time, especially if your blood alcohol level was very high or there was a child in the car.
Related Articles & Posts
- Administrative Driver’s License Suspension Based on Age
- What is implied consent in a DUI investigation?
- Procedure in a Suspended Drivers License
- DMV, DUI and Administrative Review
- Search Warrants for Blood Tests
- Driving Offenses and License Suspension
- Drivers License Administrative Suspension Issues in Broward County
- Field Sobriety Exercises
- Understanding Breathalyzers
- Driver’s License Charges Addressed by a Broward DUI Attorney
Criminal Defense Hotline: (954) 523-5333
Speak to a veteran 20 year career criminal lawyer from our Law Firm right here in Broward County.
Any Day/Any Hour, No Waiting, No Consultation Fee
Additional crime topics
- DUI Defense
- Finding the "Best DUI Lawyer in Broward County"
- DUI in Florida
- Florida DUI Law
- What are the penalties for a DUI conviction?
- DUI Practice & Procedure
- Where are Florida DUI Checkpoints?
- Florida DUI Facts
- Defending DUI is Complex
- Repeat DUI
- Self-Representation - Public Defenders
- Challenging Breath Test Results
- Our Broward County DUI Defense Book
- Crime of Fraud
- Disorderly Conduct
- Criminal Mischief
- Shoplifting Lawyers
- Common Criminal Charges
- Grand Theft Auto
- Assault and Battery
- Domestic Battery
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Court Hearings & Motions
- Pre-Trial Motions & Criminal Trial
- Pre-Trial Motions Criminal Law Question & Answer by our Fort Lauderdale Lawyers
- After the Arrest
- Setting a Bond Hearing
- Miranda Rights
- The Officer Didn't Read Me My Rights
- How is a Motion to Suppress Used by the Defense?
- Identification Evidence
- Voice Identification
- Fingerprint Evidence
- Double Jeopardy
- Jurisdiction Limitations of Police Officers
- Plea Agreements in Florida
- Plea Deals
- Violation of Probation