Many people speculate on the legal ramifications (or lack thereof) of submitting to a chemical or physical test conducted to determine a level of intoxication. With decades of experience in handling DUI defense cases, our DUI defense lawyers know the ins and outs of the relevant law. Below, we have outlined for you some main points to keep in mind regarding chemical or physical intoxication tests.

Testing is Admissible as Evidence

First, it is important to remember that the refusal to submit to a breath, urine or blood test is admissible as evidence in a DUI criminal proceeding. While a lack of physical evidence will remove the possibility of incontestable proof of your intoxication, the fact that you refused to submit to a test can sway the minds of those in the courtroom almost as powerfully. Furthermore, a second or subsequent refusal to submit to a breath, urine or blood test is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Test Refusal

The implications of refusing to submit to a breath, urine or blood test go beyond the courtroom; they affect your everyday life. For your first refusal to submit to a test of the type mentioned above, your driver’s license may be suspended for 1 year. For your second or subsequent refusals, your license may be suspended for 18 months.

For commercial drivers, the implications are even more serious; whereas for a first refusal to submit in a commercial motor vehicle the driver’s license suspension is the same as it is for other drivers, 1 year, for a second or subsequent refusal in a commercial motor vehicle it is much harsher: permanent disqualification without the possibility of a hardship reinstatement.

Forceful Withdrawal

The aforementioned instances are contingent upon the individual in question’s willingness or unwillingness to submit to a breath, urine or blood test. Forceful withdrawal is permissible, however, when necessary; for example, blood may be withdrawn by authorized medical personnel with the use of reasonable force by the arresting officer, even if the driver refuses, in DUI cases involving serious bodily injury or death.

Likewise, any person who is incapable of refusing to submit to a test by reason of unconsciousness or other mental or physical conditions shall be deemed not to have withdrawn his consent to such test; thus, a blood test may be administered whether or not such person is told that his failure to submit to such a blood test will result in the suspension of his privilege to operate a motor vehicle.

Lastly, readings from portable alcohol breath testing devices, for persons under the age of 21, as authorized by s. 322.2616 of the State Statutes, are admissible as evidence in any administrative hearing conducted under s. 322.2616.

Contacting a Lawyer

If you’ve been arrested for or charged with DUI in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact our skilled DUI defense attorneys right away.

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