Florida’s “Implied Consent” Law

Florida’s implied consent law proclaims that if you are lawfully arrested by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC) or for drugs.

Please note that you may be asked to take more than one test. If the officer first chooses a breath test, then he or she has the option to make you take an additional test, which you cannot refuse without penalty.

The penalties for refusing to take the applicable test, for a first offense are a one year license suspension. A second offense results in an 18 month license suspension. Please note the law enforcement officer may administer the test if you are unconscious even if you have not yet been arrested by the law enforcement officer for the offense of DUI. Conversely, if you are in a situation where an officer arrests you for a DUI but has not given you a test, Florida Law says that you can you ask for such a test. Once you ask for such a test, the officer must give you the test.

An individual arrested, charged or convicted of DUI, must understand the distinction between the functions of the criminal courts and the administrative suspension/revocation imposed by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Tallahassee, Florida. The careful practioner should advise his or her client whether or not he or she is eligible for a work permit during the pendency of a suspension. Conversely, the defendant needs to be made aware of the distinction between a court imposed suspension/revocation and an administrative suspension/revocation.

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