When a driver is suspected of driving while under the influence (DUI), law enforcement officers may request them to submit to a field sobriety test to determine their level of impairment. However, drivers may question their right to refuse this test. It’s imperative to understand that the decision to refuse a field sobriety test can have serious consequences. Please continue reading to learn what will happen if you violate Implied Consent laws and how a skilled Pensacola DUI Defense Lawyer can fight for you today.
Can I refuse to perform a field sobriety test?
In Florida, when an individual receives their driver’s license, they are subject to specific laws, including Implied Consent. Implied Consent laws stipulate that “any person who accepts the privilege of driving within the State of Florida is deemed, by operating a vehicle, to have given their consent to submit to lawful requests for a breath, urine, or chemical testing to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for the presence of controlled substances. Essentially, when you get behind the wheel, you are accepting the responsibility of permitting law enforcement officers to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system.
Therefore, if you refuse to take a field sobriety test, you will violate Implied Consent laws. While you can refuse to perform a field sobriety test, it will have serious consequences. If you refuse to submit to an appropriate breath test, urine test, or blood test, and it’s your first refusal, it will result in a one-year driver’s license suspension. Having your driving privileges taken away can make fulfilling your everyday responsibilities much more difficult. If this is your second refusal, it will be classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. This means you can be subject to an 18-month license suspension, face fines of up to $1,000, and spend up to one year in jail.
Are there any defenses to Implied Consent?
Fortunately, depending on the circumstances, there may be various defenses available to challenge the admissibility of field sobriety test results. As mentioned above, a police officer must have probable cause to stop you. For example, if you were swerving in and out of your lane, they have a legitimate reason to suspect you are DUI. However, if they do not have probable cause to suspect you’re intoxicated, they cannot pull you over and ask you to submit to a field sobriety test. Therefore, you can argue that the officer lacked probable cause to request that you submit to testing or even for the initial traffic stop. Ultimately, several defenses may be available.
If you’re facing criminal charges for DUI and refusing to take a field sobriety test, it’s in your best interest to contact a determined lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Burns, who can help you explore your legal options to protect your driving privileges.