Frequently Asked Questions About Florida DUI/DWI Charges
Florida has strict laws against impaired driving. But if you’ve never had a run-in with the law before, you likely have some questions about DUI/DWI laws and how they might apply in your case. Below, we’ve provided answers to some of these frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions after reading this page, you can contact us to take advantage of a free initial consultation.
Will I lose my license if charged with drunk driving?
There is both a criminal phase of your case as well as an administrative one. If you are charged with DUI, you will likely have your license suspended within 10 days after your arrest unless you request an administrative hearing. At that hearing, you can make a case for why you need to retain your license (usually for business or work purposes). If you contact our firm right away, we can help you with both the criminal and administrative processes.
Do I need to plead guilty if I failed a breathalyzer test?
You shouldn’t make any plea decisions before speaking to a skilled defense attorney. A failed breathalyzer test seems like irrefutable evidence, but that’s not necessarily true. There may have been problems with the way the test was administered or with the accuracy of the device itself. Attorney Zack Cantor can assess the details of your case and help you understand all your defense options.
Should I refuse a breathalyzer test?
This is a decision that only you can make, but you should at least be aware of the consequences for test refusal. Under Florida’s implied consent law, a police officer can require you to take a breathalyzer test if he or she has a reasonable suspicion that you were driving while impaired by alcohol.
Refusing to take the test could prevent police from gathering a strong piece of evidence against you (a breathalyzer test result of 0.08 percent or higher, showing that you are legally drunk). However, you could still potentially be convicted without this evidence.
Moreover, refusing a breathalyzer will result in immediate license suspension for one year (on a first offense) or 18 months (on a repeat offense). This suspension remains in place even if you are acquitted of DUI or have the charges dropped. Test refusal also makes you ineligible to participate in a diversion program for first-time offenders.
Can I refuse to take field sobriety tests?
Field sobriety tests are acts of physical coordination that police use to determine if they can request more invasive breathalyzer testing. They include acts like the “one-leg stand” and the “walk-and-turn test.” These tests are not very scientific, and you could fail them even if completely sober. In fact, they are designed to be failed so that police have an excuse to request a breathalyzer or make an arrest.
There is no automatic penalty for refusing a field sobriety test. Your refusal can be used against you in court as an implication that you suspected you were impaired, but this isn’t very strong evidence by itself, especially if you refused and gave a reason such as having poor balance due to a medical condition.
Get Your Questions Answered By An Attorney For Free
There is no substitute for case-specific advice, which is why you should discuss your case with an attorney. Cantor & Cantor is based in Fort Myers, and we offer free initial consultations to prospective clients throughout Southwest Florida. To get started, fill out our online contact form or call 239-494-3164.