Implied Consent Law
Many other cities have implemented what law enforcement officials have called “no refusal” weekends to reduce the number of drivers suspected of DWI who refuse breath and blood testing. Some cities such as San Antonio implement this “no refusal” policy all year round.
Section 724.011 of the State Transportation Code states that anyone who is arrested for DWI:
“is deemed to have consented, subject to this chapter, to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person’s breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance.”
This implied consent is given when you applied for your Florida drivers’ license. The current Public Safety Department drivers’ license application states that this implied consent information will be given to you when you first apply for your license.
What if you refuse?
The law requires you to take a blood or breath test if you are arrested for a DWI. Once you are arrested, the officer is required to tell you and give you written notice that if you refuse testing, this refusal can be used against you in court and your license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days. The officer should also tell you that if you decide to take a test and the results show that your BAC is above the legal limit, then your license will be suspended for at least 90 days. After explaining these consequences, the officer can ask you to take a test. This suspension is only automatic if the driver fails to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program. If you refuse you can still be charged for DWI even without taking the test.
No refusal does not mean you lose your right to refuse to take these tests. You do have a right to refuse testing.
Sec. 724.013. PROHIBITION ON TAKING SPECIMEN IF PERSON REFUSES;EXCEPTION.
“Except as provided by Section 724.012(b), a specimen may not be taken if a person refuses to submit to the taking of a specimen designated by a peace officer.”
There are some exceptions to this, however. You cannot refuse, by law, if:
- The arrest involves an accident where someone was seriously injured or killed.
- If you have had two prior DWI convictions
- If you have one prior DWI conviction and there was a child under the age of 15 in the car
If you do refuse, you will be found guilty of violating the “implied consent” section of 724.001 of the State Transportation code. The arresting officer will take your driver’s license and issue you a temporary driving permit. After 40 days, your license will be suspended for 180 days. You can request a hearing within the first 15 days. If you have a previous DWI conviction and you refuse to provide a blood or breath specimen, the suspension increases to two years.
Administrative License Revocation (ALR)
This information is taken from the Department of Public Safety:
The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program is a civil administrative process unrelated to criminal court proceedings. The ALR Program applies to individuals arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) and refuse to take or fail a blood or breath test.
Individuals who refuse or fail a blood or breath test following an arrest for DWI may have their driver license suspended from 90 days to 2 years. Refusal or failure of this test will also result in an automatic one-year disqualification for individuals with a commercial driver license.
ALR Process for DWI or BWI
If a law enforcement officer has reason to believe a driver is impaired, a set of field sobriety tests will be administered. If the driver performs poorly on the field sobriety tests then the driver will be arrested for DWI or BWI.
- The driver is asked to take a breath or blood test to measure his/her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.
- The driver is served a notice that his/her driver license will be suspended if he/she refuses to take or fails the field sobriety test. (Registering a 0.08 BAC or greater is considered failing.) The individual then has 15 days from the date the suspension notice is served to request a hearing.
- If a hearing is not requested, the suspension goes into effect on the 40th day after the notice was served. (This is usually 40 days after the arrest.)
- * For various reasons, including delayed or missing paperwork, the 40 days can be retroactive or back-dated from the date of notice.
A DWI conviction cannot be removed from your record unless you are acquitted of the offense. If you have refused breath and blood testing, you have a limited amount of time to request a hearing. The request for a hearing puts everything on hold and provides a real opportunity for avoiding a driver’s license suspension. Deadlines for requesting a hearing are firm and not extendable. Contact us today.
The Duval County DWI Lawyers at the Dick Law Firm defend DWI cases on a regular basis. We have the experience with the Duval County Criminal Justice System that Jacksonville attorneys don’t have. Contact us for a free consultation as soon as possible if you find yourself in this situation. We are dedicated to protecting you legal rights and providing you the best possible outcome for your individual case.