Refusing To Consent To A DUI Test
Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can be quite an ordeal. Not only do you face fines and jail time upon conviction, depending on your history, but you may also lose your license for a period of time, which can affect your ability to work in some cases. However, even before the conviction, a person who is stopped by law enforcement officers on suspicion of DUI can face penalties for refusing to take a chemical or physical test, including a Breathalyzer, when requested. At the moment, the refusal can lead to the suspension of a person’s driver’s license for a year, with subsequent refusals leading to a suspension of a driver’s license for 18 months. However, under a proposed bill, these penalties for refusal would be increased.
The proposed bill increases the penalties for refusal to consent to a test to include a $500 fine, six months’ probation, and a loss of four points on a driver’s license for a first time refusal. For a person refusing to take the test a second time, the refusal is classified as a misdemeanor and could be punished by up to a year in prison. Additionally, the person refusing the test would have to pay a $1,000 fine and have an ignition lock placed for one year on any cars the person owns.
There is also a difference in what kind of discretion a judge would have in imposing these penalties. Under the proposed law, judges would not have discretion to impose or not impose these penalties. This is different from the kind of discretion a judge has in imposing sentences and fines for a DUI conviction. Furthermore, if passed into law, these proposed penalties would almost punish a driver who refuses a test as harshly as for the conviction of a DUI. For example, in terms of fines, a first time DUI conviction can carry with it a fine of between $500 and $1,000.
Drivers should note that there are some instances in which the refusal to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs in their systems can be overridden. In cases of suspected DUI that involve the death or serious injury of another person, the police are allowed to obtain a blood test, with the assistance of qualified medical personnel, despite the driver’s objection. The driver can be reasonably restrained in order to obtain the blood sample. In cases where the driver is unconscious and therefore incapable of refusing a test, a test can nevertheless be carried out.
The decision on whether or not you should consent to a test when stopped by police on suspicion of DUI should be made in consultation with an experienced DUI attorney.
Contact A Clearwater DUI Attorney
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI or is facing a license suspension hearing, you need an experienced DUI attorney representing you and fighting for you to keep your license and keep you out of jail. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise you on your case. Contact the Clearwater DUI attorneys at Roman & Roman, P.A.