When it comes to drinking and driving, Florida is an implied consent state. Legally, what this means is that if you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI and asked to take a breath test, the very fact you were benefitting from the state’s roadways implies that you consent to this test. That said, while most drivers agree to the test, you actually can refuse to take the test. However, refusal has some harsh consequences, and some legislators are pushing to make those consequences even more severe.
At the end of 2015 Senator David Simmons proposed legislation that would make the results of refusal stricter. Under Simmons’ proposal, these four things would likely happen if a driver refused the breath test during a DUI stop:
- A fine of between $500 and $1,000 would be imposed.
- The driver would have four points added to their driving record.
- Probation for a term of 6 months would be mandatory.
- Judges would lose the ability to reduce or change these penalties.
What this means for Florida drivers is that if pulled over for possible DUI, consenting to the breath test may be the best action to take. If this sounds scary, that’s because it is! Many times the results of breath tests are inconclusive or unreliable. There can be errors in the way the test was given, the equipment may not have been properly maintained, or there could be another explanation for a result showing a level of alcohol over the legal limit. Due to these possibilities, it is always smart to challenge test results. A successful challenge could mean dismissal of the charges against your, or at least a reduction in the charges. Identifying errors with the testing process opens the door to negotiation with the prosecution that is more likely to end with offers you can stomach. If you have been charged with DUI, regardless of whether you agreed to the breath test or exercised your right of refusal, call our office today. We will help you sift through the facts and develop a defense strategy that meets your needs.
If you have been charged with DUI, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We help people charged with all sorts of traffic violations in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.