While many Floridians are unfamiliar with it, the sunshine state’s “implied consent” law sets an important legal precedent for DUI cases. While it’s best to avoid drinking and driving at all costs, being aware of laws like this and understanding your rights can make all the difference in the event you get charged with a DUI. Read our blog to learn what you need to know, and make sure to call a Clearwater Clearwater criminal defense lawyer from Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. if you have recently been arrested for DUI.
Understanding Florida’s Implied Consent Law
Under Florida state law, implied consent means that if you are arrested by an officer who has probable cause for believing you may be intoxicated, then you have automatically consented to a chemical blood, breath, or urine test to judge your blood alcohol content (or BAC.) In conjunction with applied consent, an officer may ask you to take more than one chemical sobriety test, which you cannot legally say no to without facing consequences.
In Florida, you do not have to be driving to be arrested for DUI and asked to submit under implied consent. As long as you are operating a motor vehicle in some way, a DUI arrest is possible. In essence, if you have started your car, an officer can make a DUI arrest, even if you haven’t driven it yet. Implied consent also dictates that drivers who are motionless in their cars, including drivers who are asleep, may also be arrested for DUI if the officer at the scene believes they may be about to drive the vehicle.
Punishments for Rejecting a Sobriety Test Under Implied Consent
If you are arrested for DUI in the state of Florida, it is the job of the officer who makes the request to inform you of the implied consent rule. They should also inform you there are consequences for refusing a sobriety test. These include penalties resulting in immediate suspension of your license, in addition to other consequences you may face for a DUI charge.
Under Florida’s implied consent law, your license will be suspended for 1 year if you refuse a sobriety test in a first-time DUI arrest, and 18 months if you refuse a sobriety test in any subsequent DUI arrests. In addition to license suspension, subsequent refusals may result in jail time, and a misdemeanor charge. Although an officer cannot force you to take a sobriety test, it is legal for them to carry out a chemical sobriety test on someone who is unconscious, regardless of whether they have been arrested. You may also ask for a chemical sobriety test, even if an officer does not administer one, in which case they case the officer is legally obligated to comply with your request.
Call a DUI Defense Lawyer at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. Today
Although a DUI arrest or refusal to take a chemical sobriety test can have serious consequences, that doesn’t mean you should give up hope. With an experienced Clearwater DUI defense attorney, you may be able to argue that you were pressured into going along with a breathalyzer, or that the arresting officer didn’t make you aware of your rights. At Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., we are committed to finding an argument that minimizes legal consequences for you. From first-time offenses to felony DUIs, our promise is to be communicative, compassionate, and to act with complete professionalism and discretion. Our firm works quickly, so hire us now, and start fighting to get your life back today.Call (727) 245-9009 to learn more, or contact us online to schedule a consultation