This Month’s Topic of Interest: April 2016 Implied Consent and Breath, Blood, or Urine Testing
The breath test for determining blood-alcohol content is the most recognizable part of the process of being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The breath test has become so popularized that many companies even sell portable breathalyzers for personal use. Like many other parts of the DUI process though, very few individuals are aware of their rights and the consequences of their actions in relation to breath testing.
After being arrested for DUI, the police will take you to the police station with the goal of securing a breath, blood, or urine test as evidence that you were under the influence while operating a motor vehicle. Prior to administering the test though, the police will likely read you what is called the “Implied Consent” warning. Implied Consent is a provision in Florida law that states that “any person who accepts the privilege extended by the laws of this state of operating a motor vehicle within this state is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical or physical test. Put in plain English, this provision means that by having a Florida driver’s license you have already consented to being tested.
Due to the fact that under the law you are deemed to have already consented to being tested, the police will likely also inform you that refusing to submit to the test will result in a suspension of your license. What the police will not tell you is that you have the power to challenge this suspension and you may be able to get your license back. Also, you may be eligible for a hardship license during the entirety of your suspension regardless of whether or not you are convicted of DUI so long as you make certain choices within 10 days of the date of the arrest.
The choice to refuse or submit to the breath test is one that varies greatly based on your personal situation. If you have had very little to drink, submitting to the test may be advisable, but be extremely wary that you may feel considerably more sober than your blood-alcohol content will show on a test. Also, there is never a guarantee that the breath test instrument will be working properly and registering accurate results
If you choose to submit to the tests, you will typically be subjected only to the breath test. Blood tests are usually only utilized in DUIs involving death or serious bodily injury or if for some reason a reliable breath test cannot be secured. It is worth noting that you cannot choose to take a blood test instead of a breath test, however, you are entitled to an independent blood test if you first submit to a valid breath test. If you choose to get an independent blood test done, the police are required to reasonably assist you in obtaining this test. Finally, urine tests should only be requested when the police suspect that you were driving under the influence of something other than alcohol. I would advise you to read the Implied Consent Law for complete information regarding your rights.