Sunday, March 3, 2024

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Florida Legislature Tinkers with Refusals and Ignition Interlock Devices

The Florida Legislature, motto: “We never saw a due process right we wouldn’t trample on”, has proposed legislation which would require the installation of an ignition interlock device immediately after a driver refuses to submit to a breath test. HB197/SB296 read, in pertinent part:

“The person shall be told that his or her failure to submit to any lawful test of his or her breath will, for a first refusal, result in the suspension of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for 1 year and placement for 1 year, at the person’s  expense, of an ignition interlock device approved by the department in accordance with s. 316.1938 upon all vehicles that are individually or jointly leased or owned and routinely operated by the person…”

The bizarre legislative analysis is replete with inaccurate information and due process violations. The bill fails to recognize that, after a DUI arrest and either refusal or breath over .08, a driver can request a formal review of the administrative suspension within 10 days- not wait 90 days. Additionally, while the driver waits for a due process hearing to review the legality of the suspension, FLHSMV will issue a temporary driving permit. The driver may, within this same 10 day period, choose to waive this formal review process and immediately obtain a business purposes only permit for the suspension period after enrollment in a DUI school. The bill appears to impose the Ignition Interlock requirement immediately and bypass due process. What if the refusal was not a refusal, a typo, or improperly obtained, or without probable cause for the arrest?

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Jonathan Blecher

Jonathan Blecher

Licensed to practice since 1982, Jonathan Blecher has defended over 5000 DUI and suspended driver license cases. A former Assistant State Attorney under Janet Reno, Jonathan later developed his interest and skills in DUI defense working under DUI legend Richard Essen, a founding member of the National College for DUI Defense. A member of the College himself, Jonathan has lectured on DUI topics at seminars, civic and business groups, as well as at the Miami-Dade County Police academy in courtroom procedure for police cadets. Jonathan is AV-Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, a Florida DUI SuperLawyer, and is authorized to appear before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeal, the U.S. District Court for Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

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