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First DUI with a Refusal

If your first DUI involves an allegation that you refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, then read this article explaining the best ways to fight a first DUI refusal.

First, a first DUI refusal comes with a twelve (12) month administrative suspension. You only have ten (10) days after the arrest to demand a formal review hearing to invalidate that suspension. If you don't demand a formal review hearing, then the twelve (12) month administrative suspension will remain on your driving record for the next 75 years. A second refusal to submit to a lawfully requested test during the next 75 years will result in a separate criminal charge.

On the other hand, if your attorney gets the suspension invalidated, then it will be removed from your driving record as if it never happened. The only downside to demanding the formal review hearing is that if it is not invalidated, then you will suffer a ninety (90) day hard suspension before you become eligible for hardship reinstatement, but that is a small price to pay for all of the benefits that come with demanding the formal review hearing.

Second, you should fight the DUI refusal in court in order to avoid a DUI conviction. Many refusal cases are very triable cases, especially if you look good on the video taken during the roadside investigation or while performing field sobriety exercises. Additionally, if your implied consent warning was not read properly or if the arresting officer made other mistakes, any mention of the "refusal" might be excluded at trial.

Before trial, you might be able to enter a new diversion program called RIDR, even if you refused to submit to the breath, blood or urine test. RIDR allows you to avoid a conviction in a DUI refusal case if you are willing to complete Level II RIRD enhanced sanctions.

Attorneys for a First DUI Refusal in Tampa, FL

If you were arrested for your first DUI and allegedly refused to submit to a breath or urine test, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We can help you understand the consequences of refusing to submit to the breath or urine test.

Contact us to find out more about the benefits of demanding a formal review hearing. Find out why the information gained during the formal review hearing might help you win your criminal case.

Our offices are located in downtown Tampa, FL, just a few blocks from the courthouse.

Call 813-250-0500.


DUI Diversion for a Refusal in Hillsborough County, FL

On March 1, 2018, the State Attorney's Office in Hillsborough County established the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) initiative. For a first-time, non-aggravated DUI, RIDR helps a person avoid a conviction if they agree to complete enhanced sanctions. Those enhanced sanctions can include installing alcohol monitoring devices and completing DUI education programs.

According to the State Attorney's Office, the RIDR initiative was intended to eliminating the incentive for offenders to refuse to provide a breath sample during the investigation. Nevertheless, that goal is undermined by the fact that a BAC of .20 or over makes you ineligible to participate in the program. But if a person has a BAC of .20 or over and simply refuses to provide a breath sample, that person would be eligible for the Level II RIDR sanctions.

But if you have a BAC below .20 (for at least one reading) or simply refused to provide a breath sample at all, then you might be eligible for the Level II RIDR sanctions.


Sanctions for RIDR Level II after Refusing Breath Testing

To participate in RIDR after refusing to submit to a breath test, you must complete the Level 2 sanctions. In exchange for agreeing to complete the enhanced sanctions, the State Attorney's Office will agree to reduce the DUI to reckless driving with a withhold of adjudication.

The negotiated plea requires twelve (12) month probation to complete the following special conditions:

  • DUI school and all recommended treatment;
  • Seventy-five (75) community service hours;
  • Six (6) months of ignition interlock alcohol monitoring or continuous alcohol monitoring;
  • Standard court costs and conditions of probation;
  • Ten (10) day vehicle immobilization; and
  • No possession or consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, or non-prescribed drugs during probation.

The State Attorney's Office will give you credit for any sanctions completed before the plea and the court might agree to early termination of the probation when all the special conditions are completed. A portion of these sanctions must be completed prior to the plea being entered.


Additional Resources

Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism Information Sheet - Visit the website of the Hillsborough County's State Attorney's Office to find the RIDR information sheet. The handout explains why the RIDR program was created. FInd a list of eligibility criteria including an arrest occurring on or after March 1, 2018, a first misdemeanor DUI without a crash, and no prior convictions for DWLS, alcohol-related reckless driving, or reckless driving. Find out why the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County evaluations each case on a case by case basis. If a breath test was requested but no breath test sample was obtained, then the SAO will assign level 2 sanctions. 


This article was last updated on Monday, December 31, 2018.