What Happens If I Refuse a Breath or Blood Test After a Florida DUI Arrest?

Being arrested for a DUI in Florida is a serious offense that can have significant consequences. One of the important decisions you may face during this process is whether to refuse a breath or blood test. You must understand the potential outcomes and the impact they can have on your case.

Florida's Implied Consent Law

In Florida, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% for drivers over 21 and 0.02% for drivers under 21.

Refusing a breath or blood test after a DUI arrest in Florida can result in immediate penalties. Under Florida's implied consent law, by operating a vehicle, you have already given consent to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test if requested by a law enforcement officer. Failure to comply with this law can lead to an automatic suspension of your driver's license, irrespective of whether you are ultimately convicted of DUI.

Administrative License Suspension

Breath or blood test refusal in Florida triggers an administrative license suspension. The length of the suspension depends on whether it's your first offense or if you have previous DUI convictions. For a first refusal, your license will be suspended for one year, while subsequent refusals can result in an 18-month suspension. It's important to note that these suspensions are separate from any criminal penalties you may face if convicted of DUI.

Impact on Criminal Case

On one hand, without concrete evidence of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), it becomes more challenging for the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Without a test result, the prosecution may have a harder time proving your BAC.

On the other hand, the prosecution may argue that your refusal indicates consciousness of guilt, potentially leading to negative assumptions by the court. Additionally, the prosecution can still build a case based on other evidence such as the officer's observations, field sobriety tests, and any other behavior that indicates impairment.

Seeking Legal Representation

Navigating the legal complexities of a DUI arrest and understanding the potential consequences of refusing a breath or blood test can be overwhelming. It's imperative to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who specializes in DUI cases. At Ali & Blankner, our team of skilled attorneys can provide you with the guidance and representation you need. Our expertise in Florida DUI laws and our understanding of the legal system can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

The following are several defenses available for DUI chemical tests:

  • Improper Calibration and Maintenance: Breathalyzer devices and blood testing equipment require regular calibration and maintenance to ensure accuracy. The defense may challenge the validity of the test if there is evidence that the testing equipment was not properly calibrated or maintained, leading to potentially unreliable results.
  • Chain of Custody: For blood tests, it is crucial to establish a proper chain of custody for the blood sample from the moment it is taken until it is tested. If there are gaps or uncertainties in the chain of custody, the defense may argue that the results could have been compromised, and the evidence should be deemed inadmissible.
  • Rising Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): Alcohol takes time to be absorbed into the bloodstream after consumption. The defense might argue that the defendant's BAC was rising at the time of the test and that it was higher at the time of driving than when the test was administered.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions or medications can influence the accuracy of breath or blood alcohol tests. For example, conditions like acid reflux or diabetes can affect breathalyzer results. Medications that contain alcohol or influence metabolism may also impact test results.
  • Inaccurate Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs): Field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand, are often used to assess impairment. However, various factors unrelated to alcohol intoxication can affect a person's performance, leading to false positives.
  • Unlawful Stop or Arrest: If the police lacked probable cause to stop the defendant's vehicle or arrest them for DUI, any evidence gathered afterward might be deemed inadmissible.
  • Miranda Rights Violation: If the defendant's Miranda rights (right to remain silent and right to an attorney) were not properly read during the arrest, any statements made afterward could be challenged.
  • Racial Profiling or Bias: In some cases, the defense may argue that the arrest was based on racial profiling or bias, leading to an unfair targeting of the defendant.
  • Retrograde Extrapolation: This defense relies on the concept that blood alcohol levels are not constant and that they may be higher at the time of the test compared to the time of driving. It involves estimating the BAC at the time of driving based on the test result and other factors.
  • Witness Testimony: The defense may present witnesses who can provide an alternative perspective on the events leading up to the arrest or challenge the credibility of the arresting officer.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Orlando, contact us today at (407) 753-1312 to learn about your available legal options.

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