Most people are familiar with a “breathalyzer,” the handheld device used to test your breath for alcohol levels. But what happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida? Does it mean that you will automatically be charged with driving under the influence (DUI)? Could you face a separate charge simply for refusing?
In this article, we explore the laws and penalties around DUI tests in Florida. This will help you understand how a refusal could impact you.
Overview of Florida’s Breathalyzer Testing Law
The law requires drunk driving suspects to submit to breathalyzer tests. This is because of a legal concept called “implied consent.”
Implied consent applies to anyone who accepts driving privileges in the state. Simply by driving in Florida, you agree to submit to breath, blood, or sobriety tests.
If a person refuses to submit to these tests after a DUI arrest, they may face consequences such as the suspension of their driver's license for up to one year.
Implied consent also covers urine tests to identify the drugs or chemicals in the body.
The law requires law enforcement officers to read a warning explaining the consequences of refusing to submit to these tests after a DUI arrest.
Your Rights When Asked to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Florida
You do have the right to refuse the test, but doing so may result in the suspension of your driver's license for up to one year.
If you take the test and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more, you may face penalties such as fines, license suspension, and possible jail time.
Remember that breathalyzer tests are not always accurate, and you can challenge the results in court with an attorney’s help.
Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Florida: Factors That Can Influence the Penalties
- Your prior record
For instance, if you have a prior DUI conviction, refusing the test may lead to harsher penalties, such as longer license suspensions, fines, and even jail time.
- The circumstances surrounding the arrest
Factors such as erratic driving, slurred speech, or the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system will increase the likelihood of a conviction.
- The effectiveness of your legal representation
Legal representation plays a critical role in the outcome of any case. A skilled lawyer may be able to challenge the validity of the arrest or the administration of the test. They can also highlight any violations of your rights.
Finding an Attorney Who Can Help You Fight Breathalyzer Refusal Charges
If you have been charged with refusing a breathalyzer, you need a good lawyer who can help you fight the charges. They can review the evidence against you and determine if the breathalyzer test was administered lawfully. An attorney could also detect any errors during the arrest that might make your case inadmissible in court. A lawyer will also explore other possible defenses to fight the charges and help minimize the negative impact on your life. Don’t face these charges alone. Contact an experienced attorney who can help you fight back.
Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. is here to help defend you against DUI allegations. To consult with our team, schedule time with us online or call our office at (904) 701-0591.