Can I refuse to take a chemical test?
In the unfortunate event you are placed under arrest by a police officer or state trooper who has probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol — likely gained through a battery of field sobriety tests — you might imagine that the incident is essentially over and the next stop is jail. Accordingly, you may decide to say or do very little until you’ve had a chance to speak with an attorney.
While your instincts are good, the reality is that the matter isn’t actually over, as the arresting officer might indicate that they want to take a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine.
Can I say no to this request/demand for a chemical test?
It’s important to understand that the state views driving as a privilege, not a right. As such, its laws dictate that anyone who accepts this privilege and is issued a valid driver’s license essentially provides their “implied consent” in advance to submit to any chemical testing requested by a law enforcement in connection with a DUI arrest.
In this respect, a person is not truly free to refuse a request/demand for a chemical test.
Does this mean law enforcement can essentially force me to take a chemical test?
Under no circumstances can a law enforcement official force a person to submit to a chemical test pursuant to a DUI arrest. However, as we’ll explain in our next post, this refusal can result in administrative or even criminal consequences.
Can the officer request only one chemical test?
Florida’s implied consent law dictates that law enforcement officials can ask a DUI suspect to take more than one chemical test and that they cannot refuse any of them without legal ramifications.
We’ll continue this discussion in our next post.
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you’ve been charged with DUI, as the stakes — fines, jail time, license suspension — are simply too high.