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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.

In order to be lawfully requested, the chemical test must be:

  • 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.

After an arrest for DUI in Pinellas County, you have two cases pending against you. The first case involves the 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. If you refused testing after having previously refused testing during a prior DUI, then the second refusal also constitutes a separate criminal charge under Fla. Stat. § 316.1939. In fact, the crime of 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, then 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 so that you can continue to drive 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, then we can also represent you on the separate crime charge for a second DUI refusal in violation of Fla. Stat. § 316.1939.

The main office of Sammis Law Firm is located in downtown Tampa, FL. We recently opened an office in Clearwater near the CJC Courthouse. Our office is located 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 5 years, second within 5 years, third outside 10 years, third within 10 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 Monday, August 8, 2022.

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