Florida is an implied consent state. This means that when you drive on Florida roads, you have implied that you consent to chemical testing during a traffic stop. Although you do have the right to refuse a breath test when asked by an officer, the penalties for refusing to do so can be quite severe. This worry can lead many to partake in the tests even when it may not be in their best interest. If you have a strong understanding of your legal rights, as well as the possible consequences of a failed breath test (as opposed to a breath test refusal), you will be able to make the proper decision if presented with this complicated situation.
For the most part, if you feel as though you are going to fail a breath test, the proper course of action would be to refuse the breathalyzer and say that you would like to speak with your attorney. Law enforcement will do everything in their power to incriminate you during the initial traffic stop, so it is vital that you take the correct steps during this critical point so you can have an realistic opportunity to fight the allegations and move on with your life.Jacksonville DUI Breath Test Attorney
Most Florida residents are not well versed in traffic and DUI laws. This leads to many situations where individuals put themselves in needlessly difficult legal positions. Simply knowing what you have to do during this time can create an entirely different outcome. Without incriminating evidence, the prosecution will have to go to extensive lengths to prove that you were operating a vehicle without your normal faculties.
William Roelke is a Florida DUI attorney who has dealt with many similar situations involving breath tests during DUI traffic stops and will bring a measured and well-informed legal perspective to your defense. He uses a fact-based approach that analyzes all relevant aspects of you case in order to find holes in prosecutions argument. Systematically investigating and detailing every factor of the criminal proceedings will ensure that William Roelke has a strong understanding of your situation so that he can provide legal counsel that is both professional and thorough.
As a Jacksonville based practice, Roelke Law P.A. is centrally located to help individuals and families throughout Northeastern Florida, including Duval County, St. Johns County, Clay County and Nassau County. The firm also offers risk-free consultation to go over you case in a confidential setting. To schedule a time to go over your breath test or DUI related offense, please call (904) 354-0333 or send an online message today.
The state of Florida has specific laws regarding implied consent. The legal wording can be found in 11D-8 or the Florida Administrative Code. The implied consent law states that any person who accepts the privilege of operating a motor vehicle within the 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.
Additionally, Florida law stipulates that in DUI cases involving serious bodily injury or death, an officer may use reasonable force if necessary to require the driver to submit to the administration of a blood test. Even if you refuse, reasonable force may be used to draw blood for a BAC test under these circumstances.
Penalties for Refusing a Breath Test
Refusing a breath test is considered a civil infraction, meaning that it is not a criminal offense, but rather an administrative one. Even so, keep in mind that a refusal to submit to a breath test is admissible as evidence in DUI criminal proceedings. As for the presumptive penalties, the basic standards apply:
- First Offense: License suspension for 1 year
- Second and Subsequent Offenses: License suspension for 18 months and first-degree misdemeanor charges (up to one year in jail and / or up to $1,000 in fines)
The administrative penalties vary, with commercial drivers receiving more severe sanctions. A first refusal for a commercial truck driver will lead to a license disqualification for a year, while a second refusal will ultimately lead to a permanent license disqualification. There are no hardship reinstatements permitted for commercial driver refusals.
If you do end up taking the breath test and subsequently fail it, you will be charged with a DUI. In Florida, according to §316.193, a DUI conviction can include up to 6 months in prison and / or fines of up to $1,000 (first DUI). If you blew above a .15, the fine will be bumped up to between $1,000 and $2,000.
DUI Breath Test Defense
Although it would seem to be the case, a driver blowing over the legal limit does not mean that a DUI conviction is unavoidable. In fact, many DUI cases can be reduced to reckless driving, especially when any kind of mistake with the testing procedure can be proven. Many alleged DUI offenders have found legal success disputing the results of a common breath test, the Intoxilyzer 8000.Some common reasons for a reduction of charges include:
- Improper law enforcement procedures
- Lack of evidence
- Results of chemical test could not be validated
- Driver was found to be mentally alert
- Plea bargain agreement was reached
Additionally, individual factors affecting the driver can cause concern with the admissibility of the breath test including:
- The driver's age or other factors impacting normal lung function;
- Conditions that could cause "mouth alcohol" including dental work or dentures;
- Medical conditions such as acid reflux or GERD;
- Anything abnormal that occurred during the 20-minute observation period before the test occurred.
One thing to keep in mind is that many alleged DUI offenders have found legal success disputing the results of a common breath test, the Intoxilyzer 8000. Used commonly during DUI arrests, the Intoxilyzer 8000 has been found to give innaccurate results at times. The ability to effectively dispute the test results can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
Roelke Law, P.A. | DUI Breath Test Lawyer in Duval County
As evidence, a failed breath test is sometimes all the justice system needs to convict someone of driving under the influence. Even so, there are many situations where the results are liable to be thrown out. A strong criminal defense attorney can focus on these details and find avenues with which to defend your name against serious DUI allegations.
William Roelke, of Roelke Law P.A. has been serving Northeastern Florida for many years and has extensive experience working on cases that involve breath tests. Not only does he know how to proceed in a case with an incriminating breath test result, he can also represent you during the civil process of protesting an administrative license suspension (the result of a test refusal). Taking a pragmatic approach, William seeks out the facts of the case and develops a defense based on provable elements, allowing for a much more straightforward process.
To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with William Roelke, please call (904) 354-0333 or send an online message today. William and staff proudly represent individuals and families dealing with DUI-related allegations throughout Northeastern Florida, including Jacksonville, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, St. Augustine, Orange Park, Green Cove Springs, Fernandina Beach and Hilliard, among others.