NAPLES DUI LAW: To Blow or Not to Blow. . . .

Naples DUI Law:  To blow or not to blow. . . into an Intoxilyzer breath instrument?

That is the question!

People often ask me whether they should blow into an Intoxilyzer or refuse in the event they are pulled over for DUI by law enforcement.  It is safe to say that most Naples DUI attorneys will advise clients not to voluntarily provide law enforcement with incriminating evidence.  Usually, by the time someone is being asked to blow into an intoxilyzer, they have already been placed in handcuffs and taken to the county jail.  Most likely, their driving pattern was observed by law enforcement and possibly video taped.  They have interacted with the officer following being pulled over and were likely asked to perform field sobriety exercises (also usually video taped).  Basically, the officer has already made up his mind as to the arrest decision and is simply gathering evidence.  Why give them any more evidence?

The problem is that there are consequences with refusing.  In fact, by law, officers are to read what’s known as “Implied Consent” to those who refuse.  Implied Consent basically says that by refusing to blow, the individual’s license will be automatically suspended for one year if it’s the first refusal or eighteen (18) months for a subsequent refusal.  It also warns that it is actually a criminal misdemeanor offense to refuse two or more times.  Finally,  it warns drivers that their refusal may be used against them in court.  So refusal does not come without its consequences.  Another penalty that the driver will usually not be told is that, should they refuse, rather than suffer a thirty (30) day “hard suspension” they will likely suffer a ninety (90) day hard suspension.  This means that if they otherwise qualified for a hardship license during the time of their suspension, they will have to wait longer for the ability to obtain the hardship license (which allows for people to drive for work, etc. . .).  [UPDATE – Since this article was posted, there have been recent changes to Florida Law as it applies to administrative DUI suspensions.  Now some drivers will qualify to waive the Formal Review Hearing and qualify for a hardship license without being subjected to a “hard” thirty (30) day or ninety (90) suspension.  For more information please refer to Recent Changes to the DUI Administrative Penalties or contact a Florida DUI criminal defense attorney ]

Unfortunately, as difficult as this decision may already be to make, the sad truth is that it is further complicated by the fact that the person making this decision may be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or both.  The best advice is to avoid the situation entirely by calling for a cab, the consequences of a DUI conviction are extremely costly, and can easily be avoided by spending a relatively minuscule amount on a safe ride home.  To contact a Naples DUI Attorney, please call (239) 775-1004.

Juan Escobar

Naples Criminal Defense Attorney

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