It is well known in Florida that driving under the influence or driving recklessly is dangerous for those behind the wheel, passengers, or any other residents passing by. If you have been pulled over for driving under the influence, then there’s a chance that you were asked to take a breathalyzer test to determine if the amount of alcohol in your system is more than the legal limit.
Breathalyzer tests, also known as breath tests, work by reading the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. However, breath tests are not the only way to determine if somebody has high alcohol levels in their bloodstream, as urine or blood tests are also known alcohol detection techniques commonly used by law enforcement officers.
If you have been accused of driving under the influence and face charges for refusal to submit a breath, blood, or urine test, then you will need the assistance of a professional defense lawyer to protect your rights. We promise to offer you the best legal advice available to ensure you receive the fairest outcome possible.
Please contact us now at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Laws on Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Port Charlotte, FL.
In Florida, there are strict laws and limits put in place regarding the amount of alcohol that is legally allowed to be consumed by a driver before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. The law states that a driver is not allowed to operate a vehicle or be behind the wheel of a car with more than .08% alcohol in their bloodstream. Driving with levels of alcohol in your system that exceed the legal amount will be considered driving under the influence (DUI), and if caught, you could face severe consequences.
In Florida Statute 316.1932, you can find the laws on breath refusal explained in finer detail.
Implied Consent in Port Charlotte, FL.
Implied consent means that any driver behind the wheel of a vehicle, or anyone who possesses a valid driving license in the State of Florida must comply in taking a breathalyzer test if requested to do so by a law enforcement officer where there is any suspicion of the motorist driving under the influence.
The failure to cooperate with a law enforcement officer in the event of being asked to take the breath test could result in the driver facing a series of consequences. These consequences include receiving a license suspension, a criminal record, a temporary driving ban, or worse, a jail sentence.
Penalties of Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
The penalties of driving under the influence are controlled by the statute and by looking into how many previous DUI convictions the driver has, as well as looking at other factors, for example, whether there were any minors in the vehicle. The following are some of the penalties that you could face as a result of committing a DUI offense.
If you are a first time offender, you may face penalties of:
- Up to 6 months in jail.
- Fines of $500 to $1,000.
- License revocation from 180 days to up to a year.
- One year of probation.
- 50 hours of community service.
- A 10-day vehicle impoundment.
If the driver had a minor passenger in the vehicle or a blood alcohol content level of .15% or more, the judge could charge the driver with up to nine months in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $2,000.
A second-time offender may face penalties of:
- Up to 9 months in jail.
- Fines of $1,000 to $2,000.
- License revocation for 180 days or up to a year.
- Five-year license revocation.
- 30-day vehicle impoundment.
If a driver commits a DUI offense for the second time, or the offense involved a minor passenger, or the driver had a blood-alcohol level of .15% or greater, then the judge can pass a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and fines ranging from $2,000 to $4,000.
A third time offender may face penalties of:
- A jail sentence of up to 5 years.
- Fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.
- License revocation for 180 days or up to a year.
- 10-year driver’s license revocation.
- 90-day vehicle impoundment.
If the driver had a minor passenger in the vehicle or a blood alcohol content level of .15% or greater, the driver would be fined at least $4,000.
All offenders of driving under the influence must attend a substance abuse course and submit a monthly reporting probation. The judge can also arrange sobriety and drug monitoring, which must be attended by law. Failing to comply with these orders can result in further consequences, such as driver’s license revocation and charges for violating probation order.
Qualifying for Refusal Charges
If you were pulled over by a law enforcement officer and refused to take a breath test, you may appear guilty for not wanting to take the test and could potentially end up facing a year-long driving ban or fines of up to $1,000 as a result.
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test more than once, then this could result in you losing your driving license for up to 18 months at least. You could also end up being charged with a misdemeanor, a criminal record, or in some severe cases, an unwanted prison sentence.
You can find information on refusal charges in Florida Statute 316.1939. You may be charged with refusal if:
- The suspect of driving under the influence refuses to take any tests for alcohol levels in the body.
- The police officer explains to the DUI suspect the consequences of resuing to take the breath test.
- The DUI suspect refuses to take the breath test more than once, even after hearing the terms of implied consent.
- A police officer has sufficient reason to suspect the driver had been driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).
If you have refused a breathalyzer test and face potential charges for driving under the influence, then you will need the assistance of a professional criminal defense attorney to go through all of your rights with you and assist you legally through the next steps of your case. Facing test refusal charges may result in more severe consequences for you, so please seek legal support from our highly rated law team today.
Should You Agree to Take the Breath Test?
Regardless of whether you agreed to take the breath test or not, sometimes police officers can see clear physical signs of intoxication in the driver. This means that a police officer can claim against you that you were behaving erratically or unusually when the breath test was requested. A police officer can also use their eyewitness account as evidence against you in court.
Therefore if you refused to take a breathalyzer test but are still suspicious to a police officer, you may end up with more charges than if you were to take the breathalyzer test initially. You could be charged with a refusal of taking the breathalyzer and still face charges of driving under the influence.
Your refusal to submit to a breath test may also be used against you at trial to show your “consciousness of guilt.”
If you are a first-time offender and have a clean criminal record, you may find it easier to apply for a hardship license. A hardship license is a temporary license that you can apply for after having your driver’s license suspended. This may be useful to you if you have had your license suspended for refusal to submit a test, but you still need to be able to travel to work, education, school, or medical visits.
It is important to notice that if this is the second time you have offended and you already have a criminal record, you may find it much more difficult to apply for a hardship license as a result of your record.
Plea bargains can be beneficial when entering a criminal defense case and can lessen the severity of a defendant’s charges. A plea bargain consists of the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to the offense in order to come to a negotiation or agreement with the prosecutor. This will allow the prosecutor to drop one or more charges or waive the recommended sentence that would usually be ordered to the defendant.
Our criminal defense lawyers here at The Law Place are professionals in negotiating with a prosecutor and carry decades worth of experience in plea bargains. If you have no previous criminal records, then this may be an option for you.
Why You Need Legal Assistance As Quickly As Possible in Port Charlotte, FL.
If you face charges for refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test in the State of Florida, and face potential license suspension or other charges, including driving under the influence, then you need to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible so that we can get to work immediately in building up a strong defense case for you, that will stand strong against a judge and the prosecution.
Our law firm wants you to remember that we have taken on many DUI cases in the past, just like yours, and have successfully reached the fairest outcome possible for our clients. If you decide to hire one of our lawyers to help your case, we can promise you will receive:
- Complete confidentiality and a highly qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyer that you can trust entirely.
- A full investigation into the facts and evidence of your case.
- Efficient communication with both client and prosecution.
- Excellent at arranging plea bargains.
- Informing you of your legal rights and protecting your legal rights at all times.
- Providing you with professional, legal advice that will benefit you during this challenging time.
- Consistent updates and support through the process of your case.
- Demanding a full disclosure of evidence from the Florida government.
Our law team will strive to work your case to your advantage in fighting to achieve the lightest outcome or sentence possible for you. We understand how complex and in-depth the law can be, and you are not expected to understand the law and all of its complicated terms. That is where your criminal defense lawyer comes in.
Law enforcement officers are highly trained in interrogating suspects, so it is important not to say too much until you have an experienced lawyer guiding you and advising you on what to say and what not to say to an officer. Whatever happens, our attorneys will ensure that the outcome of your case is fair.
Once you have taken the first step to contact our law team, we can schedule you a free consultation, giving you a chance to ask us any questions or queries you may have about our processes. Our team will then take the time to advise you on the next best steps you should take and make you aware of all your rights as our valued client.
Contact The Law Place Today!
If you face charges for refusing to submit to a breath test, a blood test, a urine test, or any other test that may prove alcohol was present in your system whilst behind the wheel of a car, then you need support and guidance from a professional legal representative.
With over seventy-five years of combined experience in a range of criminal defense cases, our law team will look into your case and do everything in our power to prevent you from losing your driver’s license and receiving a lifetime criminal record.
The Law Place understands that you may have made a mistake in the heat of the moment and that you are not a bad person. With our team of judgment-free attorneys, you can put your complete faith and trust in us as we strive to accomplish your desired outcome in court.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our law firm at (941) 444-4444. There is always a professional on hand to take your call. We are waiting to work your case for you.