It is common for drivers pulled over on the road for suspected driving under the influence (DUI) to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. A driver who is pulled over might debate whether refusing this test will lead to a better legal outcome for them. However, refusing to take a breathalyzer test does not guarantee that you will be able to avoid a DUI conviction. Under Florida Statute 316.1932, refusing to carry out a breath test could be used as evidence against you in court to prove that you were driving under the influence.
If you are pulled over by a police officer who believes that you were driving under the influence of alcohol, they may ask you to carry out other tests, such as a urine test, blood test, or field sobriety test. Refusing to take these tests can result in serious consequences, such as a year-long suspension of your driving license and fines. However, this will only stand up in a court of law if the police officer had a valid reason for pulling you over. If it can be proved that the stop was unlawful, then you will not be held accountable for refusing to take the test. In this case, your license would not be suspended. Determining whether or not the stop was unlawful can be tricky, which is why we recommend that you speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after the incident.
If you believe that you were wrongly accused of DUI, or have questions about your case involving the refusal of a breathalyzer test in Venice, then contact one of our attorneys today for free legal advice. Our phone lines are open 24hrs a day and 7 days a week, so call us today at (941) 444-4444 to see how we can help.
Legal Intoxication Alcohol Level
If you do submit to a breath or blood test after being pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, the results could contribute to determining whether you will be convicted with a DUI.
In Florida, you are presumed to be impaired in your driving abilities if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If your BAC is found to be this level or above through a breath or blood test, then this is sufficient evidence to establish that you were driving while legally intoxicated and that your normal faculties are impaired. If this evidence is presented to a jury in court, it could lead to a DUI conviction unless the defendant can provide contradicting evidence that demonstrates they did not have impaired normal faculties.
If the driver’s BAC reading is between 0.05% and 0.08%, then this does not give rise to the presumption that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol to the point of having impaired normal faculties. In this case, the evidence will most likely be considered by a jury in conjunction with other evidence of impaired faculties, such as field sobriety test results, before a conviction can be made.
If the defendant had a BAC reading of less than 0.05% when they were pulled over, then the presumption is that the defendant was not under the influence of alcohol to the extent of having impaired faculties. In this situation, this would not alone be sufficient to convince a jury that a DUI conviction is necessary. However, other evidence could still be presented to demonstrate that the driver did have impaired faculties, such as aggressive behavior or refusal to take a breath test.
It is clear that your blood alcohol level at the time of being pulled over can influence the outcome of your trial. However, it is important to note that the result of a breath test will be used in conjunction with other evidence, such as your behavior, particularly if your BAC was in the grey-zone between 0.05% and 0.08%. Therefore, if you refuse to take a breath test, you may be giving yourself a worse chance in a court situation. For free legal advice about your case, contact The Law Place today for a free consultation.
Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test
If you are pulled over and refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, this does not guarantee that you will avoid a DUI conviction. In fact, the prosecutor would be likely to use this refusal as evidence that you were intoxicated. Other evidence they could use includes erratic driving and a failure to submit to field sobriety tests.
For this reason, it is recommended that you always submit to a breathalyzer test if this is requested by a police officer. A notable exception to this advice is in the situation where you believe that the arrest was unlawful. The Florida Supreme Court announced in 2011 that a person’s driver’s license could not be suspended because of the refusal to take a breath test if the DUI arrest was unlawful.
If you were stopped without reasonable suspicion or if the arrest was found to have been made without probable cause, then a court of law cannot use your refusal to take a breath test against you to suspend your driving privileges. Determining whether or not a police officer had probable cause can be difficult, so we recommend you seek advice from a criminal defense lawyer who can help you to build a defense case. With decades of combined experience dealing with DUI cases such as these, you can rest assured that we will fight hard to defend your case and give you your best chance of a positive outcome.
Penalties for Refusing to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test in Venice Florida
If a police officer believes that you are driving under the influence and, upon being pulled over, you refuse to take a breath test, your license could be suspended for up to a year if it is your first DUI charge. If you refuse to submit to a breath test on your second or third charge, then your license will be suspended for 18 months, and you could even face jail time.
After a potential suspension of your driver’s license, the driver in question has the right to a court hearing. Here, you will have the chance to argue that the pullover was unlawful, and there is a possibility to dismiss your driving license suspension. However, if you are found guilty, your license will be suspended for a minimum of ninety days. If you are convicted for a first-time DUI in Florida, a worst-case scenario can include fines, jail time, and you being required to fit an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. It could be possible for you to apply for a work/business license, but you would still be required to attend a DUI school and pay a fee. If you have been charged with DUI, contact one of our defense attorneys today for a free case evaluation to discuss the specifics of your case and determine the best steps to take in order to lessen the charges against you.
Ineligibility for Florida’s Diversion Program
If you are pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, our advice is not to refuse the test. As previously mentioned, refusing to take a test can be used against you in court as evidence of intoxication. Another consequence of this refusal is that it will make you ineligible for Florida’s diversion program. In a case where the driver is convicted of a first-time DUI in Florida, they can usually attend this program, which allows you to lessen the sentence you will receive. This program requires the driver to attend DUI school, take a victim’s awareness program, or carry out community service. If you refuse to take a breath test when you are pulled over, you will not be able to attend this program and so will likely face a longer suspension of your driver’s license.
If you have been involved in a police stop that you believe was unlawful, a defense attorney can help. Our lawyers have a lot of experience with DUI cases and can help to reduce the charges against you if we can determine that there was not a good enough reason to pull you over in the first place.
What Can a Defense Attorney Do for Me?
If you have been involved in a police stop where you refused to take a breath test, we highly recommend that you seek a criminal defense attorney. Contact us today to be put in touch with a lawyer specialized in defense cases such as these. They will be able to go through the details of your case in a free consultation, give you legal advice, and advise you on your next steps. With many years of experience, our attorneys have defended many drivers charged with DUI and have helped prove that the police stop was unlawful. Your attorney will stand up for you in court and give you the best chance of reducing your sentence or driver’s license suspension.
Contact The Law Place Today
Our team of experienced defense attorneys is here to help you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and we can discuss how we can build a strong defense for your case in court.
Our phone lines are monitored 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. So call us today at (941) 444-4444.