Allegations of DUI in Delray Beach are among the most common criminal cases in local courts. Even so, these cases can be very complex with many moving parts. It is critical that people facing these charges understand their cases and possible ways to defend themselves.
One potential avenue of defense is challenging the admissibility of a breathalyzer test. In other cases, there is no breathalyzer evidence because of a refusal to take the test. Although this choice comes with serious consequences, refusing to take a breathalyzer test can increase the chances of success in a subsequent trial.
Understanding the role of breathalyzers in Delray Beach DUI cases is vital to protecting your rights. Contact one of our Lawyers at Leifert & Leifert today to learn more.
The Implied Consent Law and Possible Consequences for Violations
Driving in Delray Beach comes with certain obligations under the law. Chief among this is the requirement that all people operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. Police Officers in Delray Beach and throughout the State have the right and duty to enforce the laws that mandate safe driving.
One example of this law is the implied consent statute. According to Florida Statute § 316.1932, every driver in Delray Beach who enjoys the privilege of using the state’s roads gives their implied consent to submit to a breathalyzer test at the request of a Police Officer. This officer can only make this request after making a lawful arrest upon reasonable suspicion of DUI. Additionally, the arresting officer must inform the driver that a refusal to take the test will result in penalties.
These penalties can be harsh. According to the statute, a first refusal to submit to a test will result in a suspension of a person’s driver’s license for a period of one year. This time will extend to 18 months if an individual has a prior refusal on their record. In extreme cases, a subsequent refusal is a criminal offense where a conviction can result in up to one year in jail. A DUI Lawyer in Delray Beach can provide more information about the administrative penalties that may result from a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Possible Impacts of a Refusal to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test on a Criminal Case
There are two ways that Prosecutors in Delray Beach can prove that a person was driving under the influence. The most common way is the result of a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. According to Florida Statute § 316.193, any person driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or more is guilty of DUI. Denying this evidence to Police Officers and Prosecutors can force them to fall back on a less powerful theory of their case.
Prosecutors may also rely on a Police Officer’s observations to infer impaired driving from drugs, alcohol or a combination thereof. Evidence in these scenarios is subjective and may include:
- Erratic driving
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
- The smell of alcohol
- Poor balance
Prosecutors prefer to rely on the scientific evidence that breath tests may produce. This makes their case seem more powerful. Even so, breathalyzers are not always accurate, and a Delray Beach DUI Lawyer could help to contest this evidence in court.
Whether a Breathalyzer Test is Present in a DUI Case is Vital to a Person’s Future
The potential consequences for a DUI are severe. Penalties may include a jail term, a loss of license, and the payment of heavy fines. Police Officers and Prosecutors rely heavily on breathalyzer tests to obtain evidence of drunk driving. It may benefit you to refuse to take a test at an officer’s request. However, be aware that a refusal to submit to a test will likely result in a suspended license for one year.
Keeping this in mind, it may be worth it to frustrate a Prosecutor’s attempt at a conviction in Court. Without this scientific evidence, the Prosecutor will need to rely on a Police Officer’s observations as to whether a person was driving while intoxicated. This can significantly increase your chances of success. Reach out to a Delray Beach Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert today to learn more about breathalyzers in Delray Beach DUI cases.