Being pulled over for any reason can be an extremely nerve-wracking event, especially if a police officer suspects that you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The scary truth is that this suspicion justifies a police officer to begin asking you to submit to various tests in order to ascertain whether you are actually under the influence. It is important to understand the possible tests that an officer may ask you to take, as well as your rights with respect to each type of test and consequences that may result from exercising your rights.
Chemical Tests – Blood, Breath, and Urine Testing
When Florida law enforcement officials suspect you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol you may be asked to submit to a breath test, blood test, or urine test. The most likely test you would be asked to submit to is a breath test. During a breath test, you will be required to breath into a device that will estimate your blood alcohol content, or BAC. If you blow a level of .08 or higher, you will be presumed to be driving under the influence and subject to a DUI charge.
A law enforcement officer may also ask you to submit to blood testing to determine whether you are under the influence. Situations in which a police officer may initiate a blood test include after the driver has blown a legal reading during a breath test despite the driver appearing impaired. You may be compelled to submit to a chemical test of your blood if there has been an accident resulting in serious injury.
Under the Florida “implied consent” law, driving in the state means that you are automatically deemed to consent to submit to a chemical test to determine whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol if a law enforcement officer suspects you may be under the influence. However, you still may choose to refuse to submit to testing. An exception exists where you can be compelled to submit to blood testing by court order if you were involved in an accident that caused death or serious bodily of another person and the law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Outside of this exception, you can make the choice to refuse to take the test law enforcement requests of you, but it is important to be aware of the consequences of such refusal.
Understand that your refusal to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test to analyze your sobriety will result in a mandatory 1-year suspension of your driver's license and if you have refused before you could be facing an additional criminal charge. Your refusal to submit to testing can be use against you in a court of law, but, this also means that Florida prosecutors will not have chemical test results against you. These test results are generally a key piece of evidence in any DUI prosecution – absence of which can seriously affect their case against you.
If you or someone you know has recently exercised the right to refuse a blood-alcohol test, breath-alcohol test, or urine-alcohol test, contact the experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys at Farkas & Crowley today to discuss how to best protect yourself. Our team can help you understand the repercussions of your decision and can help formulate a strategy to protect against more serious criminal charges.