To blow or not to blow? This seems to be the question on everyone’s mind after being arrested for DUI. While some people choose not to take a breathalyzer test in the hope that a lack of chemical evidence will bode well for them at trial, it is important to understand that this does not guarantee a not guilty verdict. Many times, the prosecutor will use your refusal to cooperate as evidence in their case. They may pose questions like “Why would the defendant refuse to take the test if they hadn’t been drinking?”
To a jury of your peers, this could sound like incriminating evidence. While a lack of chemical evidence will certainly make it harder for the prosecutor to secure a conviction, you should not rely on this as a winning defense. You should also know that, regardless of the outcome of your criminal trial, you will be penalized for refusing to take the test. According to Florida’s implied consent law, you do not have the right to refuse a chemical test once you have been lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause.
The penalties for refusing to take a chemical test in Florida include:
- First refusal: one-year driver’s license suspension
- Second refusal: 18-month driver’s license suspension
- Third refusal: 18-month driver’s license suspension
Can an officer physically compel me to take a BAC test?
Although it is against the implied consent law to refuse a chemical test once you have been arrested for driving under the influence, an officer cannot forcefully compel you to do so – in most cases. There are certain exceptions, which means that there is more than one answer to this question. If you are unconscious, for example, the state has the power to administer a blood test. This is true even if you haven’t been formally arrested.
On the other hand, you also have the right to ask for a blood, breath or urine test if you are arrested for DUI and the officer has not already asked you to take one. Once you ask, a police officer is legally required to give you a test. This could help your case if you were mistakenly arrested for drunk driving or “drugged driving” and you want to prove your side of the story before the situation gets worse. After all, that is your legal right.
Call Our Firm 24/7 for a Free DUI Consultation
If you were recently arrested for DUI in Fort Lauderdale or a surrounding area, Rudenberg and Glasser, P.A. should be your first call. We are available to our clients 24/7, which means that we will be there for you when you need us most. Just because you failed a breath or blood test does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty, so it is important that you get started on building a successful defense immediately.
To discuss your case with a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer, schedule a free consultation with Rudenberg and Glasser, P.A. today. Calls are answered 24/7!