South Florida DUI Test Refusal Lawyers
Every motorist who accepts a driver’s licenses in the state of Florida is considered to have given his or her consent to submit to chemical testing if he or she is suspected of driving under the influence (DUI). If a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, he or she could potentially be facing two criminal charges: DUI and refusal to submit.
While declining a blood, breath, or urine test prevents law enforcement from having evidence against an alleged offender, prosecutors will often argue that the refusal itself was the driver’s acknowledgment of his or her guilt. Other observations made by police officers will be used to support any claims that a motorist was guilty of DUI, and a conviction can have very stiff consequences when the alleged offender is also deemed guilty of refusal to submit.
Were you arrested for DUI in South Florida after refusing to submit to a chemical test? You will want to make sure that you have legal counsel who will fully investigate the circumstances surrounding your traffic stop and test refusal as part of a dedicated effort to get these criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
The experienced DUI test refusal attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. fight to get the most favorable outcomes for clients in communities throughout Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County. Our firm will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (561) 557-8686 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.
Florida Statute § 316.1932 establishes the implied consent of every motorist to tests for alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances. The first sentence of the statute states:
Any person who accepts the privilege extended by the laws of this state of operating a motor vehicle within this state is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test including, but not limited to, an infrared light test of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood or breath if the person is lawfully arrested for any offense allegedly committed while the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
When a driver is stopped by a police officer who suspects that the motorist may be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, the officer will read a standard implied consent warning. This typically begins with him or her stating, “I am now requesting that you submit to an approved test of your” breath, urine, or blood for the purpose of determining either “the alcoholic content of your breath,” “the presence of any chemical or controlled substance” in the alleged offender’s urine, or the blood’s “alcoholic content and/or the presence of any chemical or controlled substance.”
After reading that introductory sentence, the officer will ask the driver whether he or she will take the test. If he or she refuses, then the officer notifies the alleged offender that failing to submit to the requested test will result in a one-year suspension of driving privileges for a first refusal and an 18-month suspension if he or she has been previously suspended as a result of such refusal.
The police officer also notifies the alleged offender that refusal to submit is a misdemeanor, and any refusal will be admissible into evidence in any criminal proceeding. The alleged offender is then asked again whether he or she still refuses to submit to the test.
However, all of this assumes that the police officer had the right to stop the vehicle and the right to suspect the motorist was DUI. Despite the language of Florida’s implied consent statute, drivers still retain the right to refuse to submit to breath, blood, or urine tests.
A refusal to submit to these tests will trigger an automatic suspension of driving privileges. Motorists have 10 days to request a formal review hearing to contest the suspension, and they may be able to obtain a permit that allows them to continue driving while fighting the administrative suspension.
If no hearing is requested, then drivers who refused tests for the first time will be forced to wait 90 days to apply for a hardship license that allows them to drive only for employment or business purposes. If a driver has previously had his or her license suspended because of a refusal to submit, then failure to request a hearing will mean he or she will be unable to drive for any reason for 18 months.
In addition to the specific punishments associated with a DUI conviction, a driver who is convicted of test refusal will be also guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by:
While police officers may attempt to argue that drivers were defiant in their failure to submit to a requested chemical test, there are several defenses that may be used to counter these claims. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, defenses may include, but are not limited to:
If you have been charged with refusing to submit to a DUI test, be sure to get legal representation as soon as possible. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. aggressively defends clients all over South Florida, including Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Greenacres, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Wellington, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and more.
Our firm fights to minimize the penalties that alleged offenders face after being arrested. Call (561) 557-8686 today to let our right to refuse DUI testing attorneys review your case during a free legal consultation.
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I just had to commend you on the outstanding job you did on behalf of your client in court yesterday. If my clients were ever to ask me if I know of a good DUI defense attorney, I know to whom I can refer them!
I was facing hard prison time and punishment. [Larry] did everything to pull strings and get me into rehab. After meeting with many therapists I finally got one to diagnose me successfully with Bipolar. Thanks to Larry I have been sober since 6/19/09. My health is great and my family life is amazing. It's because he saw something in me and my family that I wasn't just an alcoholic there was something that told me it was something else.
I was charged with a felony and facing the scary thought of losing my job, but thank you Attorney Steven Bell for helping me. Now I’m able to keep my job and take care of my family. I am truly amazed by your service, and you for understanding what I have to deal with. To me I’m very impressed by way you handled my case and was here to listen and make things OK!
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