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Can I refuse to take a chemical test? - II

Last time, our blog began examining what the law here in Florida has to say concerning those scenarios in which a person has been placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence and the arresting officer indicates that they want to take a chemical test of their breath, urine or blood.

Specifically, we discussed how the state's implied consent laws essentially dictate that by accepting a driver's license, you've already agreed in advance to submit to chemical testing in connection with a DUI arrest.

Does the implied consent law apply if I'm not actually driving?

The state's implied consent law applies whenever a person is lawfully arrested for driving under the influence or for being "in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages." 

This latter provision means that if you are in the car and are otherwise capable of making it move, the implied consent law applies. For example, if you are asleep behind the wheel when an officer arrives and found to have a blood alcohol content above the legal limit of .08, you can be arrested for DUI and asked to take a chemical test.

What happens if I refuse to take a chemical test?

Refusing to submit to a chemical test is a misdemeanor in Florida. Indeed, first-offense test refusal can be punished by a 12-month license suspension and subsequent refusals can be punished by an 18-month license suspension.

The law requires the arresting officer to not only share this information, but to also indicate that any refusal can be used against the person in their criminal case.

Is it possible for me to request a chemical test if the officer otherwise declines?  

Yes, state law indicates that people have a right to ask for a chemical test to be performed and that law enforcement must honor this request. It goes without saying, however, that this move is not without certain risks.

If you've been charged with drunk driving, please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible so that they can get to work examining the circumstances of your arrest and preparing a strong defense.   

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