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Can you refuse a field sobriety test?

In a recent post, we explained the truth about field sobriety tests. If a police officer suspects that you have been drinking and driving, the officer may ask you to complete a field sobriety test to evaluate whether you are intoxicated. What happens if you refuse?

Under Florida law, there are no penalties if you refuse to do a field sobriety test. However, saying no to the test does not mean that you are off the hook. 

An officer may still have probable cause to arrest you for a DUI. Probable cause means that the officer has enough evidence to believe that you were committing a crime. For example, if the officer sees empty beer bottles in your backseat, the officer could arrest you based on probable cause that you were driving under the influence.

When you have been arrested on suspicion of a DUI, Florida law requires that you take one of three kinds of chemical tests: breath, blood, or urine. These tests determine your blood alcohol content. Under Florida's implied consent law, when you apply for a driver's license, you consent to taking a chemical test if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence. If you refuse, you face certain penalties.

The first time you refuse to take a chemical test, your license will be suspended for one year. For a second refusal or any other refusal afterwards, your license will be suspended for 18 months. In addition, you will be committing a misdemeanor, so you could face additional consequences, including time in jail. Further, your refusal to submit to the test could be used against you in court.

Have you been charged with a DUI or lost your driver's license because you refused to take a chemical test? Talking to an experienced DUI attorney can help you understand your rights. 

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