Drunk driving is a serious crime, and being charged with a DUI violation can be terrifying because of the consequences, both legal and personal, it carries. Those who are facing such charges can receive fines, loss of driving privileges and jail time in addition to the social stigma that comes along with conviction and charges. It is important before even getting behind the wheel of a car to understand how DUI laws work. Among the most important legal concepts to grasp is that of implied consent. Here's a look at implied consent and section 316.1932, Florida Statutes, and how it relates to Florida DUI laws.
Implied consent in Florida DUI laws relates to the right of police to test you for blood alcohol content if you are accused of driving under the influence. If you are lawfully arrested and the officer has probable cause to feel that you are not fit to drive due to substance use, they are entitled to test your blood alcohol content, or BAC for drugs or alcohol. You can even be asked to take more than one test.
Simply by getting behind the wheel of a car means that you automatically consent to these tests and you cannot refuse them without further penalties. This is what “implied consent” means: you are implied by operating a vehicle to have already given consent to drug and alcohol testing if arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Types of Testing
There are several types of testing that can be done to determine your fitness to be behind the wheel of a vehicle. The first of these is the field sobriety test, where the officer will put you through the paces of coordination, focus and concentration that can indicate based on your performance, the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system.
Should you fail or refuse the field sobriety test, the officer can require you to take a blood alcohol test. This can take several forms. The first and most common is the breathalyzer test, where you breathe into a device which detects alcohol on your breath. Other tests include blood tests and urine tests.
Refusing the Test
If you refuse the test in Florida, you will automatically lose your license for a year. Future refusals can carry a penalty of license suspension for 18 months as well as potential jail time and fines as a misdemeanor offense. So while you cannot technically be forced to take the test, but you will suffer penalties for the refusal.
It's also important to note that if you are arrested for DUI unjustly and a test is not administered, you have the right to request a test to prove you are not intoxicated.
Drunk driving is a serious offense that carries serious penalties. If you face charges of drunk driving in Florida, you should never try to defend yourself. There are many pitfalls and mistakes against which only a qualified criminal defense attorney can protect you.