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Florida Supreme Court agrees to take up case challenging warrantless DUI breath tests

The Florida State Supreme Court will hear a case from Volusia County that challenges the constitutionality of warrantless DUI breath tests. More specifically, they are reviewing the right to prosecute citizens suspected of drunk driving who refuse to take breath tests.

The 5th District Court ruled that it is not a violation of rights to penalize someone who refuses a breath test to determine blood alcohol content, even when the arresting officer does not have a warrant. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal on that ruling.

The "Refusal to Submit" hearing stems from 2013 incident in Volusia County

The case stems from the 2013 arrest of William Williams. Williams refused to submit to a breath test when stopped by a police officer under a suspected DUI. He was charged with five violations, including "Refusal to Submit."

According to the Florida statute, a person can be charged if they refuse a breathalyzer test when the police have probable cause to suspect impaired driving or if the suspect has a history of impaired driving or refusing breathalyzers.

Fourth Amendment cited in appeal of "Refusal to Submit" case

Williams' appeal posits that the "Refusal to Submit" charge is unconstitutional. His attorneys have argued that asking a citizen to submit to a breath test without a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The Amendment is intended to protect the people from unreasonable search and seizure.

State Attorney General Pam Bondi urged the court not to hear Williams' appeal, arguing that the decision was in keeping with Florida precedent, but the case will move forward.

Upholding the law is the job of both courts and attorneys. If you're facing a DUI charge, the right criminal lawyer can make sure your rights are represented.

Sources:

State Supreme Court To Consider Breath Tests, www.miami.cbslocal.com, December 31, 2015

William Williams v. State, www.law.justia.com

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