Florida DUI Homicide Suspect’s Blood Test Showed High BAC

On Jan. 7, 2012, a jogger on Siesta Key died after being hit by a car. Florida police arrested a suspect at the scene of the accident and later brought charges in connection with the incident. The suspect refused to submit to a chemical test, thereby violating the state's implied consent laws.

Test Refusal

Authorities had seen the suspect drinking on the beach earlier in the day, prior to the accident. Therefore, when they arrived on the scene, they believed the suspect had been driving under the influence and wanted to check his blood alcohol concentration. The suspect refused, but police assisted paramedics in drawing a sample of the suspect's blood to test. Police have the authority to perform a blood test in instances involving serious bodily injury or death.

The prosecutor told reporters that the results from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab revealed the driver's BAC was 0.223 percent, or almost three time the legal limit of 0.08. The driver faces a variety of DUI and manslaughter charges as a result of the incident.

Florida's Implied Consent Laws

When the driver refused to let police check his BAC, he violated state law. Like all other states, Florida has an implied consent law. The reason the law is called "implied consent" is because it states that each driver implicitly agrees to take a chemical test in the future should a police officer request one in exchange for the privilege of having a Florida driver's license.

Penalties for Test Refusal

The penalties for test refusal in Florida can be severe. The first time a person refuses a test, the person automatically loses his or her driver's license for one year - whether he or she drove while over the legal BAC limit or not. If the driver has previously refused a test, the license suspension period increases to eighteen months. Additionally, the second refusal is a misdemeanor under Florida law. The state may also introduce test refusal in any criminal proceedings that may stem from the incident.

Consult an Attorney

Florida authorities take DUI charges very seriously and pursue the cases vigorously. If you are facing DUI charges, make sure to talk to an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights.