DUI Test Refusal
If a law enforcement officer has reason to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or otherwise impaired, you can be pulled over and possibly charged with DUI. Alternatively, you can be caught in a DUI checkpoint or roadblock, which are more common during holiday weekends. If the law enforcement officer suspects you may be impaired due to alcohol, you will likely be asked to submit to a chemical test, which is commonly a breathalyzer test. Blood or urine testing may also be used. Failure to take the chemical test is not without consequences, but an experienced Florida defense attorney can help you avoid or minimize them.Jacksonville DUI Test Refusal Attorney
If you or a loved one were arrested for refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test, blood test, or urine test in Northeast Florida, it's critical to consider your legal options. Bill Roelke is a dedicated DUI defense lawyer representing men and women facing the added complication of breath test refusal. As a former research scientist, he also possesses an enhanced perspective of the science and weaknesses behind chemical tests used in Duval County. When you're facing charges for refusal to submit in Duval County, Clay County, St. Johns County, or Nassau County, this can help make the difference in the outcome.
Call (904) 354-0333 or send an online message to discuss your case during a free and honest review with Bill Roelke. This is your opportunity to learn more about the charges you face and the Duval County criminal justice system during an informative, no-pressure meeting. It's best to contact an attorney as soon after arrest as possible to build a proactive defense to the prosecution's case.
Purpose of a Breathalyzer Test in Duval County, FL
The breathalyzer test is done to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. The legal limit it .08% in Florida, though lower limits may be taken into account and considered impaired driving, particularly if the DUI involved the injury or death of another person, or property damage. The law enforcement officer will inform you of Florida's implied consent laws in what is called the "implied consent warning." Should you still refuse to take the test, you can be arrested for "DUI Refusal."
Florida Implied Consent Warning
The law enforcement officer must read the "Implied Consent Warning" and prove that you refused to submit to the blood, breath, or urine test after the warning was read. Failure for the law enforcement officer to do so can also be used in your case against the prosecution. In essence, this warning advises you of the consequences of refusing to submit to the breath test, giving you the opportunity to change your mind. Florida Statute § 316.1932(1)(a)1.a 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. The chemical or physical breath test must be incidental to a lawful arrest and administered at the request of a law enforcement officer, who has reason to believe such person was driving or was in actual physical control of the motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of alcoholic beverages."
Penalties for DUI Refusal in Jacksonville, FL
DUI cases also carry an administrative element and involve the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The DHSMV is responsible for the administrative license suspension, which is effective immediately upon arrest and can be contested during an informal or formal license review hearing. The length of the suspension depends on the repeat nature of the offense. Additionally, refusal to submit to a chemical test carries an automatic 12 month suspension for a first offense and 18 months for a second or subsequent refusal. This is distinct from the criminal penalties of a DUI.
If you have previously refused to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test, you can be charged with a separate criminal offense, "refusal to submit", under Florida Statute § 316.1939. This can result in a first degree misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and / or up to 12 months in jail. However, in order to do so, the court must find that:
- The arresting officer had probable cause to believe the offender was in actual physical control or driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired.
- The arresting officer asked the alleged offender to take a blood, breath, or urine test and was refused.
- The alleged offender was informed of the Implied Consent Warnings and that a second or subsequent refusal would be punished as a first degree misdemeanor.
- The alleged offender refused the chemical test after being informed of the Implied Consent Warnings.
- This was a second refusal and the first refusal resulted in an administrative license suspension for refusal to submit to chemical testing.
Because the prosecutor will use your DHSMV driving record to build a case against you, it's critical to work with an experienced DUI lawyer who understands the nuance behind Florida's Implied Consent laws.
Roelke Law, P.A. | Refusal to Submit to DUI Test in Duval County, FL
Call (904) 354-0333 to learn more about your legal options following a charge for DUI refusal in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, St. Augustine, Orange Park, Fernandina Beach, Atlantic Beach, or the surrounding areas. Bill Roelke will fight for your best options and not the easiest solutions. Regardless of the severity of your alleged DUI, this may include case dismissal, not guilty verdicts, acquittal, reduced charges and other outcomes. He also represents clients in the administrative aspects of their DUI cases and fights hard to help clients retain their driving privileges. Contact Roelke Law today for more information regarding your DUI arrest.