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Proposed bill targets drivers who refuse DUI tests

Under current law, Florida motorists who refuse to take a chemical test after being suspected of driving under the influence may have their licenses suspended for a period of time. Republican Senator David Simmons thinks that this penalty is not strong enough, and he has proposed a bill that would increase the penalties for refusing DUI tests.

On Feb. 13, Simmons filed a proposal that would require drivers to pay fines between $500 and $1,000 for refusing to submit to breath, blood or urine testing. The proposal would also take four points off a driver's license and require a driver to be placed on probation for six months. If a person refuses to take drunk driving tests multiple times, the penalties would get even steeper.

If measure SB 918 is passed, a driver that refuses to take DUI tests multiple times will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. The driver could then face a maximum sentence of one year behind bars plus a $1,000 fine. Simmons' bill would also require drivers who refuse DUI tests more than once to install ignition interlock devices in all of their vehicles at their own expense.

A driver could have a legitimate reason for refusing to take a breath test, and the refusal alone is not enough to convict a driver for DUI. A criminal defense attorney might argue that clients may have refused to take a breath test because they had a reasonable fear that the test would display a false positive.

Source: Health News Florida, "Senator Seeks Stronger Penalties For Refusing DUI Tests ", Feb. 14, 2017

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