Channel 3, WEAR TV, reports that suspected DUI drivers could face harsher penalties if they refuse to take a breathalyzer test. Under the proposed new law, drivers could face jail time and fines. The proposed bill is expected to be discussed in committee next week. For refusing the test, drivers would face a minimum $500 fine and six months of probation on top of an already suspended license for refusing the test. WEAR interviewed an officer with the Gulf Breeze Police Department who thought the new proposed penalties would be very beneficial. Why? Breathalyzer tests are voluntary. The Gulf Breeze Officer, Brandon Scapin, said “If you don’t submit to lawful test of your breath your license gets suspended for a period of one year. If you have a prior refusal to submit to a lawful test of the breath, urine or blood your license will be suspended for a period of 18 months.” He said the fear of spending time behind bars and paying a fine may encourage drivers to cooperate. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for someone to refuse a breath test if they’re arrested again. A repeat offender would also be required to have a breathalyzer device installed in their vehicle, and would need to pass in order to drive their car. Gulf Breeze police officers are equipped with audio packs and their units have dash cams that record evidence that also helps in DUI cases. As always, law enforcement reminds you not to drink and drive.
We hope that this law passes because DUI accidents are too frequent in Florida. The statistics are staggering.
- Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher (i.e., drunk drivers) are considered alcohol-impaired by law.
- About one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver.
- Thanks to dedicated efforts, rates of drunk driving and alcohol-involved fatal crashes have gone down in recent years.
- Still, drunk drivers got behind the wheel millions of times in 2010umber of Deaths,
- In Florida, 2003-2012 8,476 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver
- NHTSA reports that in 2013, alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities were highest in Texas (1,337), followed by California (867), and Florida (676).
So we hope the Florida Legislature does right and passes this bill.
If you or a loved one has been in injured or died as a result of DUI related accident, please contact us at Brannon & Brannon (850)659-2252