As it stands right now in Florida, any driver who refuses to take a breathalyzer
test could face a year-long suspension of their driver's license.
Now, a new bill has been submitted to the state senate that could dramatically
increase those penalties with additional fines and other measures to compel
Sun Sentinel reports, Senator David Simmons filed the bill on December 28, 2015. The bill proposes
that drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test should be fined between $500
and $1000, lose four points on their license, and receive six months’
probation. It also would make these penalties immutable, meaning that
a judge would not be able to alter, lessen, or suspend them.
Additionally, the bill would make a second refusal a first-degree misdemeanor.
Along with the possible $1,000 fine and year in jail, penalties for this
charge can also include the installation of an ignition interlock device
on the convicted driver's vehicle for a year.
Refusing a breathalyzer test is a violation of Florida's implied consent
law, which states that all drivers must comply with law enforcement's
request to submit to a breathalyzer test when there is suspicion that
the driver is intoxicated. While administrative penalties have always
been associated with this kind of refusal, this new bill, if passed, would
bring criminal penalties to drivers who refuse the test, as well.
Why increased penalties now?
According to statistics provided by MADD, the prevalence of drunk driving
in Florida has been improving over the last decade. There were 60,574
DUI arrests in the state in 2002 and only 40,677 in 2014. Alcohol-related
traffic deaths are also down 65% between 1982 and 2013.
So if statistics are improving, why is there still a legislative push to
strengthen DUI laws? The
Sun concludes that a number of recent, high-profile DUI cases have made drunk
driving a persistent hot topic among Florida communities. In November
2013, Broward Country Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Imperato was stopped
for drunk driving and, in 2015, Miami Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe"
Diaz was stopped, as well. Both drivers refused breathalyzer tests.
If you have been arrested for DUI and are facing both administrative and
criminal penalties, then we invite you to contact
Beckham Solis, Attorneys at Law today. Our legal team of dedicated Miami DUI defense lawyers has more
than 50 years of combined experience in this practice area. We are well-versed
in the challenges that the accused face following these charges and aggressively
protect their rights and interests throughout every step of their case.
Want to learn what your DUI defense options are? Contact us today to request a
free case evaluation.