If a person accused of DUI refuses to submit to field sobriety exercises or to submit a breath sample a common concern is whether the refusal can be used against the DUI Defendant in Court. As to the driver's license, being deemed to have refused will cause an automatic suspension unless a review hearing is requested and won at the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
In criminal and traffic defense, a common complaint from an accused individual or their family is that the arrest affidavit, arrest report, accident report or citation contains one or more errors. For example, if there is a DUI accusation with a child in the car but the officer marks on the DUI citation that there were no passengers under the age of 18 or marking "no injury" on a traffic ticket in a case involving a near fatality. (actual examples). The ugly truth is that the police, deputies and troopers filling out these documents are people too, and they make mistakes. Unfotunately, typographical or similar errors will usually not lead to a case being dismissed.
Arrested for DUI? Refusal to submit a sample of breath, blood or urine is a criminal offense in Florida if the person's license has been suspended in the past for refusing to submit to testing. An officer can request a driver to blow into the breath machine if a person is lawfully arrested. Unfortunately, officers will put people down as having 'refused' a breath test even when a person tries to blow. In the context of urine, stage fright will still be marked as a refusal.
A frustrating issue defending those accused of Driving Under the Influence or DUI, has been the lack of a definition of the word "impaired" in the standard jury instructions. Without a breath, blood or urine result or sample the State of Florida must prove that the person is "impaired" in order to convict a person of DUI. This is especially true if the accused is DUI by drugs or prescriptions. However, the Florida Supreme Court in issuing jury instructions has sought fit to leave the word "impaired" undefined.
Auto accidents frequently give rise to criminal cases in addition to civil lawsuits and traffic tickets. For example law enforcement may charge a driver in a car crash with Reckless Driving with Property Damage, Vehicular Manslaughter, DUI Manslaughter, DUI with Serious Bodily Injury, DUI with Property Damage, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Failure to Render Aid, etc. Vehicular Manslaughter is essentially Reckless Driving with a Death. If law enforcement does not believe a crime was committed, then the driver will be charged with careless driving. (More on the difference between Careless Driving and Reckless Driving)
In Florida, when a person is suspected of DUI Manslaughter or DUI causing serious bodily injury the police can use reasonable force to obtain a blood sample to test. A blood test can only be obtained when there is probable cause to believe the driver is under the influence and caused a serious bodily injury or death. This includes serious bodily injury to the driver. Law enforcement DOES NOT have authority to force a blood test or blood draw in a plain DUI, DUI with property damage or DUI with bodily injury.
In DUI defense a common questions is "how do I avoid a DUI?" The answer is easy. If you drink don't drive and if you drive don't drink. The best way is to simply not drive to a drinking event. A taxi costs a heck of a lot less than a DUI attorney; it actually will cost you less than the court reporter. Depending on where you live, a taxi will run you less than the $25 is costs to file a request for a formal review hearing before the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The best way to avoid a DUI is to hire a taxi or ride share.