Many in Naples may be familiar with the concept of an implied consent law. Such a law (in general terms) means that by participating in a certain activity, one agrees to being evaluated by the officials to who regulate it. Implied consent laws are typically cited in reference to roadside sobriety testing. By agreeing to drive, drivers have already consented to being evaluated to determine if they may or may not be intoxicated.
Florida’s implied consent law can be found in Section 316.1932 of the state’s statutes. Here, it clearly shows that if one is arrested for suspicion of DUI, he or she must submit to chemical testing of either his or her blood, breath or urine to determine his or her exact level of impairment. A refusal to do so will result in an automatic 1-year suspension of his or her driving privileges. Most assume a chemical breath test to be those done using a breathalyzer. However, breathalyzer tests actually fall into another category.
All roadside sobriety tests (including breathalyzer tests) are actually referred to as preliminary alcohol screenings. These are not included in the chemical tests covered by the state’s implied consent laws. In fact, Section 327.355 of Florida’s statutes shows that only drivers under the age of 21 must submit to such screenings. Drivers who are above that age do have the right to refuse them.
A refusal of a breathalyzer test may result in one’s arrest, after which he or she must then submit to chemical testing. However, should chemical tests of one’s blood alcohol content come back far below legal levels only a few short hours after his or her arrest, such results may help one challenge the claim that he or she was ever actually drunk.