Is It Better to Refuse a Breathalyzer in Florida?Breathalyzer tests are the standard method across the United States to measure BAL (breath alcohol level). This is not to be confused with BAC (blood alcohol content), which is measured with a blood test. A breath test can be used against you in a court of law when charged with a DUI.
In Florida, you have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test when pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving. Some people believe this will strengthen their case when they face DUI charges. However, a refusal may result in consequences that outweigh the proposed benefits of refusal.
If you have been pulled over for a DUI, call The Ticket Lawyers to discuss your options. We offer a free consultation with a qualified attorney who will explain your possible avenues for defense and our payment structure.
Call us today at 855-323-8488.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, breath tests are carried out by small devices that measure breath alcohol content, commonly known as breathalyzers. Police officers and other officials use them to measure the driver’s alcohol intake and supposed level of impairment. They are also included in ignition interlock devices placed in vehicles of individuals previously convicted of a DUI.
The way these devices work is by using infrared light to measure molecules of ethanol, the active ingredient in alcohol, in the mouth. It takes a control test of the surrounding air to establish a baseline and then measures the user’s breath in comparison to that. Breathalyzers usually take up to one minute to give a full reading.
If an individual fails the test, they are arrested and charged with a DUI. The police will then take a second breath test at the station, in addition to a urine and blood test, for evidential purposes.
You have the right to refuse sobriety tests in Florida. This includes coordination exams, a blood test, and a breathalyzer test. In the course of a lawful DUI arrest, police will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer to test your BAL. If you choose to refuse, your license will be suspended, and you may be charged with misdemeanor crimes if this is your second DUI.
The consequences of refusal can outweigh the benefits. Florida has one of the highest refusal rates in the country, with nearly 80% of drivers refusing a breathalyzer test. While it may seem like you are taking away a key piece of evidence against you, a license suspension cannot be argued after you refuse.
According to Florida Statute 322.2616, you will have your license suspended for a period of one year if this is your first DUI or 18 months if this is your second. If you consent to take a breathalyzer test and you are found over the legal limit of .08, you are subject to license suspension for six months for your first charge and one year for your second. If this is your second charge, you may face misdemeanor charges as well, which can include jail time. This means refusing a breathalyzer test could result in worse consequences than if you agree to one.
No, refusing a breathalyzer test does not mean you cannot be convicted of a DUI. Even though the test is an important piece of evidence in many DUI cases, it is not the only way to prove a driver’s impairment.
Some other pieces of evidence that can prove a DUI according to Florida law include:
According to Florida Statute 316.1932, all drivers under arrest are subject to sobriety tests by law. This is commonly known as implied consent law. Only if you are under arrest are you lawfully subject to sobriety tests. An officer is legally required to inform you that a refusal of a breathalyzer or other sobriety exams will result in a mandatory one-year license suspension at a minimum. If this is your second DUI, you will be subject to 18 months suspension and possible misdemeanor charges, which can include jail time.
Implied consent means that as soon as you drive a car in Florida with a registered license, you automatically agree to these conditions. They are not something that is agreed upon after the fact; they are implied by your privilege to operate a motor vehicle. As soon as you get behind the wheel, you are subject to implied consent laws.
Have you or a loved one been charged with driving under the influence in Florida? Did you refuse to take a breathalyzer test? Call The Ticket Lawyers law firm to discuss your options. We offer a free consultation with a qualified criminal defense attorney who will go over the specifics of your DUI charges and offer a thorough examination of your potential defense strategy. We will also go over our fee structure, so you know exactly how much our help will cost.
Call The Ticket Lawyers today at 855-323-8488.
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