Christina Sztanko is best-known for her appearance on the third season of the popular reality show The Bachelor. But on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, the only bright lights she was in front of were flashing blue patrol lights. The former reality contestant and current realtor was arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence on West Kennedy Boulevard near the North Dale Mabry Highway Wednesday morning. At the time of her arrest, Sztanko refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Sztanko was a competitor on the third season of the hit reality TV show. On the show, she was among a cast of women seeking the affection of an heir to a prominent family business. Sztanko was ultimately eliminated on the series. It is unclear at the time of writing if she has obtained a Tampa DUI defense attorney.
Refusing a Breathalyzer in Florida
It is not uncommon for DUI suspects like Ms. Sztanko to refuse a breathalyzer test. However, there are certain consequences that come with that decision.
Under Florida law, you are deemed to have given your implied consent to submit a breath, blood, or urine test if you are lawfully arrested under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Despite this implied consent, you cannot be forced to submit to a chemical test. However, refusing to take a test carries its own consequences. What's more, the mere fact that you refused to submit to a test may be used against you at trial as evidence that you were in fact intoxicated.
While you cannot be forced to take a breathalyzer test in most cases, there are circumstances where a sample may be taken against your will or without your consent. The first is if you are involved in an accident and rendered unconscious. In that case, a law enforcement officer that suspects that you were drinking may take a sample even though you haven't been arrested.
Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer in Florida
Refusing to take a test doesn't carry the potential for jail time, but the potential penalties are still costly. The penalties also escalate if you have refused a test in the past as well.
For a first offense, a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer will lead to a one-year suspension of your driving privileges. For a second or subsequent refusal, you will lose your license for 18 months for each time you refuse.
Hiring a Tampa DUI Attorney that Has Your Back
Whether you are a reality television star or not, the potential consequences of a DUI conviction are serious. You face more than just the social stigma of a DUI arrest; you could face hefty fines, a suspended driver's license, and even time behind bars. Luckily, an experienced Tampa DUI defense attorney may be able to help you avoid a conviction. Omar Abdelghany is a criminal defense attorney based out of Tampa Florida. He prides himself on his excellent service and attention to detail. To discuss your case with an attorney that is ready to fight for you, contact the OA Law Firm today.