Refusal to submit to testing is a separate and distinct charge from DUI in Florida. Many Clearwater driving under the influence attorneys often receive questions concerning the criminal charge of refusal to submit to testing under Florida Statute §316.1939. As we have discussed elsewhere on our Clearwater driving under the influence attorney blog, Florida’s implied consent statute provides the legal basis with which Floridians are requested and required to submit to chemical breath tests. This charge will constitute an additional criminal misdemeanor charge with a maximum county jail sentence of one (1) year and a fine.
It is critical to consider the specifics required for the State Attorney’s Office to successfully charge and convict someone of a refusal to submit to testing. First and arguably most importantly, the State Attorney’s Office must prove a prior refusal. Many cases involving refusals are dropped to Reckless Driving charges throughout the Tampa Bay area because of evidentiary issues, so the State will be required to get the specific criminal reports from the previous charge. Additionally if the matter proceeds to trial, the State will be required to prove up the refusal by likely calling arresting officer during the previous case. Secondly, there must be a lawful arrest and/or request that you undergo the chemical testing during the current case. Lastly, you must have been properly advised of the implications of the refusal.
Lastly, there are specific jurisdictions throughout the Tampa Bay Area that are more aggressive charging individuals with the refusal to submit charge. Specifically, the Sixth Judicial Circuit, including Pinellas and Pasco Counties, and the Tenth Judicial Circuit, including Polk County and other counties, are especially aggressive filing these specific charges. These Circuit State Attorney’s Offices are also very aggressive with seeking jail sentences and heavy sentences in these cases.
If you or someone you know has been charged with refusal to submit to testing, contact the Clearwater driving under the influence attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We have represented thousands of folks charged with driving under the influence throughout the Tampa Bay Area. If you would like to contact one of our Clearwater driving under the influence attorneys immediately, please use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of the website. We appreciate you taking the time to check out our Clearwater driving under the influence attorney blog and we look forward to hearing from you.