DUI Refusal in Pinellas County

Under Section 316.1932(1)(a)1.a., F.S., anyone who accepts the privilege of operating a motor vehicle in the State of Florida is deemed to have given consent to submit to a lawfully requested and approved test of the alcohol content of their blood, breath, or urine.

So what happens if you refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test after a DUI arrest? The first issue is whether the request is lawful. A legal request is:

  • incidental to a lawful arrest; and
  • administered at the request of a law enforcement officer who has a reasonable belief that the driver was DUI.

If the request is legal and you refuse, certain consequences are triggered. First, the refusal triggers an “on-the-spot” administrative suspension triggered by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV).

As authorized by Section 322.2615(1)(b)1.a., F.S., the DHSMV will administratively suspend the driving privileges for twelve (12) months for a first refusal or eighteen (18) months for a second or subsequent refusal. The only way to challenge the administrative suspension is to demand a formal review hearing within ten (10) days of the arrest.

The second case pending against you is the criminal case for the DUI charge that is decided in court. Your attorney can represent you at the pre-trial conferences, obtain all of the discovery (police reports and videos), file motions to suppress or exclude evidence, prepare the case for trial, and negotiate a pretrial resolution (hopefully for a reduced charge of reckless driving).

For a second refusal, you can be charged with a separate crime under Fla. Stat. § 316.1939. Refusing to submit to a chemical test for a second time is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Lawyer for DUI Refusal in Pinellas County, FL

If you were charged with a DUI involving a refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.

We can help you demand a formal review hearing at the DHSMV to contest the 12-18 month administrative suspension. After we demand the formal review hearing, we can also help you secure a 42-day permit to continue driving to work, school, and church.

Not only can we help you challenge the administrative suspension, but we can also help you fight the DUI charge in court. If this is your second refusal, we can also represent you on the separate crime charge for a second DUI refusal violating Fla. Stat. § 316.1939.

Sammis Law Firm has an office in Clearwater, FL, near the CJC Courthouse. Visit us at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820.

Don’t face the judge alone. Call 727-210-7004.

Additional Resources

Chart of Penalties in Pinellas – Find a chart listing the mandatory minimum criminal penalties imposed at sentencing in a DUI case in Pinellas County, FL. The chart lists the type of DUI charge (first, second outside five years, second within five years, third outside ten years, third within ten years, or fourth lifetime DUI), the total amount of fines and costs, probation period, driver’s license revocation period, jail time, vehicle impound, and other mandatory penalties.

Penalties for a Second DUI Refusal – Read more about the history of Fla. Stat. § 316.1939, enacted in 2002. That statute creates a separate crime for refusing to submit to a lawfully requested blood, breath, or urine test if your driving privileges were previously suspended for a refusal. The crime is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 12 months in the county jail, even if you are never convicted of the underlying DUI. The purpose of the law was to discourage a person from avoiding a DUI conviction by repeatedly refusing to take a breath test after each DUI arrest.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.