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Do police need a warrant for a breath test?

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that police do not need a warrant to conduct a breath test on drivers suspected of drunk driving. The ruling brought to an end a Florida case in which the law firm of Damore, Delgado, Romanik & Rawlins had challenged the right of police officers to conduct a breath test without a warrant.

Does this ruling that mean that drivers now have to submit to breath tests? Not necessarily.

Am I required to take a breath test?

You are not required take a field sobriety test or a roadside breath test in Florida unless you have been arrested and read the implied consent notice.

If you have been arrested and read the implied consent notice, you face suspension of your driver's license and other sanctions if you refuse to take the test. However, you should still seek the advice of an experienced DUI defense lawyer before you submit to any test.

What happened in the Florida breath test case?

Our client, William Williams, was issued a number of traffic citations, including driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and refusal to submit to a chemical test. We tried the case before a jury and our client was found not guilty of all counts except for a severed count of refusal to submit to a chemical test.

On charge of refusal, the county court issued an order denying our motion to dismiss the charge. The County Court then accepted Mr. Williams' plea of no contest with reservation of right to appeal the denial.

You can read about our Florida breath test case here.

Our Law firm had planned to argue before the state Supreme Court that our client's Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was convicted of a misdemeanor for refusing a breath test since police did not have a warrant.

Our lawyers ended the appeal, however, after the Supreme Court ruled that police officers do not need a warrant for a breath test. It still remains unclear whether police need a warrant for a blood or urine test.

Here is a newspaper story about our appeal.

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Damore, Delgado, Romanik & Rawlins Damore, Delgado, Romanik & Rawlins

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Fax: 386-255-8100
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