Florida law requires those who want the privilege of operating a motor vehicle on Florida roads or waterways to consent to blood alcohol testing should the unfortunate occasion arise. Blood alcohol content (BAC) may be tested using a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test.
The requirement is referred to as “implied consent.” When an individual applies for a Florida driver’s license, he or she consents to a BAC test. Given that, many people still refuse the test, however, and refusing a BAC test multiple times can result in criminal liability.
To discourage drivers from simply avoiding DUI charges by refusing BAC test, Florida law makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to refuse a BAC test a second time.
Attorney for BAC Refusal in Palm Beach County, FL
Refusing a BAC test for the first time may only result in your Florida Driver’s License being suspended; however, refusing a BAC test a second time can result in criminal charges. If you or someone you know has refused to submit to a blood alcohol content test and is not facing license suspension or criminal charges, then speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Our office is dedicated to fighting for the rights of those charged with DUI refusal and other drunk driving offenses such as first-time DUI offenses, wet reckless, or DUI with property damage charges.
We take cases throughout Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach, and in the surrounding areas of Broward County and Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Call (561) 557-8686 to find out more about how one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you.
BAC Refusal and License Suspension
The first time that an individual refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test does not generally result in criminal charges. Under Florida Statute Section 316.1932, any driver who operates a motor vehicle on Florida roads consents to submit to an approved BAC test.
Failing to submit to a BAC test request by an officer who has sufficient probable cause to believe that a driver is under the influence could result in the following penalties:
- First Offense – license suspension for six (6) months.
- Second Offense – license suspension for eighteen (18) months.
Under Florida law, the requesting officers must inform the offender of the consequences of refusing to take a blood alcohol content test.
Florida Charges for DUI Refusal
Florida law makes failing to submit to a BAC test is a first-degree misdemeanor. To prove that an individual refused a BAC test, the State must show the following:
- that a police officer had probable cause to believe that an individual was in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, chemicals, or a controlled substance such that his or her normal faculties were impaired;
- that a police officer requested that the individual submit to a BAC test;
- that a police officer read the individual Florida’s implied consent warning;
- that a police officer informed the individual that it is a first-degree misdemeanor to refuse a BAC test;
- that the individual had previously refused to submit to a BAC test; and
- that after being told of the consequences of failing to submit to a BAC test, the individual still refused.
Second DUI Refusal
Florida law criminalizes refusing to submit to a BAC test the second time. “Refusal to Submit to Testing,” is a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida Statute § 316.1939. Moreover, the Florida law allows juries to use circumstantial inferences in determining whether to convict an individual of a second DUI refusal.
Florida Standard Jury Instruction 28.13 explains the inference as follows: the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) records showing that a person’s license has been previously suspended for a prior refusal to submit to a lawful test of his or her breath, urine, or blood shall be admissible and shall create a rebuttable presumption of such suspension.
Florida Statute §316.193 – Visit Online Sunshine the official website of the Florida Legislature for additional information on driving under the influence in Palm Beach County, Florida, including the consequences of failing to submit to a BAC the first time.
Find an Attorney for Refusing BAC Tests in West Palm Beach, FL
If you or someone you know has been charged with refusing a DUI test and are now subject to criminal prosecution, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights.
Our attorneys have handled multiple DUI test refusals over the course of years and are experienced advocates in Florida courtrooms. We take cases in West Palm Beach and in the surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County, and Broward County, Florida.
Call Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to schedule a consultation with our office.
This article was last updated on Thursday, July 20, 2017.