On your Florida driver’s license, it does state in relatively tiny writing at the bottom that “operation of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law.” So, what are Florida’s implied consent laws? Legally, Florida criminal DUI Statute 316.1932 is the “implied consent statute“. This statute does apply to ANY and ALL drivers, including out of state drivers.
In essence, when you signed forms to apply for a driver’s license, you automatically agreed to comply with requests by law enforcement officers to undertake chemical and physical testing on you so as to determine your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). It is important to mention at this point that chemical testing does include urine, blood, and breath testing. In this regard, even though a breath test can be administered by the roadside or at any other location deemed appropriate; urine and blood testing can only be undertaken at a detention or medical facility. However, the administration of a physical or chemical breath test must be incidental to a lawful arrest. Further, these tests should only be administered at the request of a law enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the driver was in actual physical control of the motor vehicle within the state of Florida while under the influence of alcohol. In Florida, the standardized field sobriety tests usually include the walk and turn, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test as well as the one-leg stand.
In Florida, the administration of a breath test does not in any way preclude the lawful administration of other tests mentioned above. Even though you can politely decline to take a field sobriety or chemical test to determine your BAC level, there are penalties involved. The statute states that the person shall be informed that failure to submit to any of the above mentioned lawful tests will result in suspension of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of 12 months for a first refusal or for a period of 18 months if the privilege had been previously suspended as a result of refusing to submit to a similar test.
In addition to the above refusing a breath test for the second time is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to twelve months in jail if the first refusal to take a breath test did result in a suspension after the driver lost his or her formal review. Put simply; implied consent laws include producing a driver’s license and proof of insurance when requested, consenting to urine, breath and blood tests to determine BAC when requested and performing field sobriety tests when and if required to do so. It should be noted that if you refuse to undertake a chemical test or fail to cooperate with the field sobriety tests, you can still be arrested if the officer decides that he or she has probable cause to believe you are intoxicated and therefore a danger to the public and yourself.
In Florida, implied consent laws are normally challenged by criminal defense attorneys on several fronts, and it is, therefore, important to get in touch with a qualified attorney to help you out in such an instance since the penalties can be quite severe.