Under Florida's implied consent law, drivers must submit to a breathalyzer test when asked by law enforcement or suffer an administrative license suspension. Now, a bill before the state senate is looking to make these penalties harsher and even enforce a criminal misdemeanor charge for repeat refusals.
As the Sun Sentinel reports, Senator David Simmons of Altamonte Springs submitted the bill in the final days of 2015 for the senate's consideration. Under the bill, refusing a breathalyzer test would yield a $500 - $1,000 fine, six months of probation, and four points on the driver's license. In the event of a second refusal, the driver can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. A judge would not be able to alter any of these penalties, as well.
This is not the first time in recent years that legislators have tried to strengthen DUI laws. Due to a legislative push, ignition interlock devices became a requirement for first-time offenders in 2014. In the last legislative session, lawmakers also tried to make boating under the influence convictions count towards the total number of DUIs for a driver. That effort, however, failed.
Recent High-Profile Cases
According to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), instances of DUI in Florida have been improving. There were nearly 20,000 fewer DUI arrests in 2014 then there were in 2002 and DUI-related deaths since 1982 have fallen 65% statewide.
However, drunk driving has remained a prevalent news item among many Florida communities. Two years ago, Broward County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Imperato was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, as was Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz in 2015. Both drivers in those cases refused breathalyzer tests, perhaps enforcing a trend of drivers willing to take a lesser penalty rather than provide incriminating evidence against themselves.
Are you or a loved one facing a drunk driving charge? If so, then the Law Office of Michael Mirer, P.A. invites you to contact them today. Attorney Mirer is a former prosecutor who knows how the state approaches DUI cases and what strategies and resources are required to secure a dismissal or reduction on the accused's behalf.
Want to learn more about how our team can fight for you during this uncertain time? Call 800.789.0243 to speak with a trusted Miami DUI defense attorney today.