If authorities in Florida believe that you are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be asked to submit to a chemical test. Although you have the right to refuse such a test, doing so will likely result in a license suspension. Furthermore, the fact that you declined to comply with the state’s implied consent law may be used against you at trial.
You will likely receive a warning
After refusing to comply with an officer’s request to offer a blood or breath sample, he or she will warn you of the potential consequences of doing so. For a first violation of the implied consent law, your license will be suspended for a year. If you have previously declined to take a chemical test, for a subsequent refusal, it will be suspended for 18 months.
An officer can still take you into custody for DUI
You may be taken into custody based on an officer’s belief that you are intoxicated. For example, if you are having trouble standing, slurring your speech or have bloodshot eyes, that may be sufficient to justify charging you with DUI. Therefore, refusing to take a chemical test won’t necessarily improve your odds of avoiding a criminal charge.
The license suspension will likely stand even if you’re acquitted
The fact that you were charged with DUI doesn’t mean that you will be convicted at trial. Although your actions before being taken into custody can be introduced into evidence by the prosecutor in your case, it’s typically harder to obtain a conviction based on subjective information. While a license suspension will likely remain in place despite being acquitted of impaired driving, you could avoid other penalties, such as jail time or a fine.
After being charged with DUI, it’s generally in your best interest to hire an attorney. Legal counsel may cast doubt on the results of a chemical test, your refusal to take one or other evidence that jurors are exposed to at trial.