Nearly 50,000 drivers are pulled over annually in the state of Florida and are believed to be, and in turn are accused by law enforcement officials for driving while under the influence—also known as DUI. Given this statistic, the successful prosecution rate for such offenders and instances nearly topples 43,000 out of the 50,000 aforementioned annually. Sadly, these are very concerning statistics, especially when taking into consideration the mortality rate of DUI involved vehicular accidents—or for prosecutions sake manslaughter-related offenses.
Recently, Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs has made it a point to present a bill in which would offer and secure a heavier penalty for those believed to be, or whom are accused of driving under the influence (DUI) and refuse breathalyzer tests—which is surprisingly within the rights of any American citizen to do at any time. Said proposed bill is known as SB 1244, and effectively would create much heavier fines and penalties for anyone whom refuses a breathalyzer test when suspected by law enforcement officials for driving under the influence.
To date, the most atypical scenario that plays out in a scenario is one in which a citizen can refuse a breathalyzer test upon suspicion of drunk-driving, however, and only face the default penalty of up to a year’s suspension of said individuals driver’s license. Given the current penalty(s) for such, this leads prosecutors, law enforcers, and other government researchers to believe that the current laws pertaining to DUI breathalyzer refusals are “too lax”, in turn promoting if not otherwise stimulating any sort of recidivism of drunk-drivers. In essence, the implementation of such a bill would ideally serve as a stronger deterrent for those considering or driving while under the influence—DUI. Although other evidence is taken into consideration in such instances, such as police dash-cam video and testimony, the stronger the case and resources a law enforcement official has at his or her disposal, the more likely prosecution might be successful for such offenders.
Under the new proposed Florida Bill, SB 1244, offenders whom refuse breathalyzers upon being suspected of DUI, will face up to $1,000 in fines for the first offense and 6 months’ probation, while second time offenders may face up to a year in prison as well as additional heavier fines and penalties—such as 4 points on ones drivers record. Additionally, the installation of a breathalyzer device inside ones vehicle would also be required (at the owners expense) for second time offenders or otherwise DUI breathalyzer refusals.
Although in instances involving severe injuries or fatalities (alcohol) blood tests can be mandatory and forced (or coaxed) onto a suspect, great grey areas exist regarding such circumstances and make it difficult for prosecution to hold and pursue a strong case in such instances as the argument of a violation of rights will often be made when such circumstances are prevalent.
Given the current statistics pertaining to the seemingly increasing rates of drunk drivers in the state of Florida, one might argue that the application of such a Bill will be successful, and serve as a credible measure of promoting recidivism of drunk drivers and accidents to fatalities stemming from such to begin to take effect.
If you located in Tampa Bay and have DUI related questions please contact John P. Rutkowski criminal defense attorney to schedule a free consultation at 727-213-9078
Image credit: 123rf.com