Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Florida?

DUI Lawyers are often asked a question by friends and clients – “If I am pulled over for DUI, what happens if I refuse to provide a breath sample?” The debate is often whether or not it is better for a driver to “blow”, or submit to a breath sample, or to refuse to provide a breath sample.

First, every driver should be aware of Florida’s “implied consent law”. Take a look at your Florida Driver’s License. Down at the very bottom, there is a sentence in tiny print that says “Operation of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law.” This statement is a reference to Florida Statute 316.1932.

This means that it is presumed that you will submit to a lawful breath test if requested to by a law enforcement officer. If you blow, and your breath sample is over .08, your license will automatically be suspended for a period of six (6) months on a first time DUI arrest. In most instances, a driver will be eligible for a “hardship license” for all but thirty (30) days of that six month period. If you refuse a breath sample on a first time DUI arrest, your license will automatically be suspended for a period of one (1) year, but you will likely be eligible for a hardship permit during all but ninety (90) days of that year.

The reason that many drivers refuse to provide a breath sample is that they either do not want there to be any “hard” evidence as to their breath alcohol content, or they do not trust the breath test machine. It is important to know that if you do provide a breath sample over .15, you can be charged with an “enhanced” DUI which has increased penalties, including requiring you to have a vehicle ignition interlock device (breath test machine) installed in your car for a period of time.

It is also good to know that there are many defenses to both the criminal charge of DUI and the suspension of your license. For example, if you did refuse to submit a breath sample, but the officer failed to read you Florida’s Implied Consent Law informing you that you would lose your license, the suspension may be over turned.

If you have questions about DUI or your driving privilege in Florida, call Taracks & Associates today for a free, confidential consultation. We five lawyers on staff, including four former DUI prosecutors, and are available 24/7. With over 50 years of experience, Taracks & Associates legal team has the knowledge and experience to help you beat your DUI. Taracks & Associates – The Advocate For You.

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