Can You Afford to Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Florida?
Picture this: You ate dinner accompanied by a glass of beer or wine over an hour ago and suddenly police emergency lights flash in the rear-view mirror, demanding that you pull over. The officer walks up, taps your window and asks for a breath sample in order to determine your level of intoxication.
You aren’t drunk, but you’d be embarrassed to register anything on that breathalyzer.
Can you refuse a roadside breathalyzer test?
According to Florida DUI laws, the answer is No.
Florida DUI laws exercise Implied Consent. This consent means that you automatically consent to a breath (or blood, or urine) test upon arrest on suspicion of impaired driving by a police officer.
Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will automatically result in a 1-year vehicle suspension for a first offence in Florida. Second and third offences are given an automatic 18-month vehicle suspension—all for not complying with Florida DUI laws. You may also face additional penalties, including fines and even jail time for refusing a roadside breathalyzer test.
An officer cannot force you to take a breathalyzer test and will inform you of the consequences should you continue to resist. On the flip side, if an officer detains you on suspicion of driving under the influence, then you are entitled to ask for a breath test, even if the officer hasn’t offered one.
The consequences for refusing a roadside breathalyzer test are lesser than being convicted of a DUI, but doing so does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted of driving under the influence; if anything, it would hurt your case and garner a heftier consequence if you showed that you had prior knowledge of your intoxication level.
When it comes to Florida DUI laws, don’t risk unnecessary consequences. If you’re driving sober, then you have nothing to fear.
Take the breathalyzer test, the law says you should.