Should you refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida during a DUI stop? If you are being asked to blow, it means that you have already been arrested. If you have consumed any alcohol, always refuse!
Different sources will give different information, but here are the answers from our Florida criminal defense attorneys:
Should I Take a Breath Test in Florida?
The police do not ask you to take a breath test if they don’t suspect you of being impaired. They know what they are doing and know how to make a case that will make you look bad. Keep in mind that everything that they ask you to do is done for the purpose of proving that you are impaired.
- If you’ve had nothing to drink, then you should always take the test and blow .000. But, you should expect to be asked to provide a urine sample next.
- If you know you’re over Florida’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) legal limit of 0.08 or are in doubt, it is always better to refuse the breathalyzer test.
What Will Happen If I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Florida?
Florida Implied Consent Law
In Florida, there is an ‘implied consent law‘ for DUI breathalyzer tests. This means by owning a driver’s license, you give consent to take an approved breath test when asked. However, this doesn’t mean you have to actually take the test. Although there will be consequences for refusing, you can’t be forced into blowing.
If you do refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida, your driver’s license will be suspended immediately. You will be unable to drive for at least one year. A second or third offense with refusal will result in 18 months of license suspension and separate criminal charge.
Why You Shouldn’t Take a Breath Test
By refusing to take the test, there will be no evidence of your BAC level at the time. Your refusal will be used against you, but this can be a better scenario than handing over proof of impairment.
There may even be ways to justify your refusal to take a breathalyzer test, such as:
- Medical Issues: Some people may have anxiety or mental health issues with taking a test. In these scenarios, a law enforcement officer may document a refusal rather than the reality of the scenario.
- Language Barriers: If your English isn’t perfect you may struggle to understand the instructions, resulting in the law enforcement officer documenting a refusal.
- Impatience: Some officers may lose their patience and claim there was a breath test refusal because you didn’t take the test immediately when requested or asked questions about it.
Law enforcement officers may become aggressive and frustrated by your refusal. Remain calm and do everything the officer tells you to do. Do not resist arrest.
Should I Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Florida?
A Field Sobriety Test is used by a police officer to assess a person’s impairment from intoxication. For example, you may be asked to follow a finger with your eyes, stand on one leg or walk in a straight line.
- In Florida, you are not legally required to perform a field sobriety test when you’re stopped for a DUI. The police will not tell you this fact.
- If you have had more than a couple of drinks, it is usually better to refuse rather than perform the test poorly. The tests are difficult, so anything that will affect you will be detected.
- Always remain calm and be polite. You don’t need to give a reason for refusal.
- The police officer may get frustrated and try to pressure you, but don’t give in.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Arrested for a DUI in Florida?
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, you should contact a Florida DUI defense attorney immediately.
You have only 10 days to sign up for DUI school after an arrest and to get your hardship license. Our criminal defense attorneys can guide you through this process and aggressively fight to have your charges dropped or reduced. Doing so can protect your license, employment and future.
Read our guide on what you should do after being stopped for a DUI in Florida.
Different BAC Results in Florida
Florida’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) legal limit is 0.08. Driving with this level of alcohol is driving under the influence (DUI) offense. Here’s what happens depending on the different results that are blown:
.05 or Less
If you blow a breathalyzer test in Florida and the evidence reveals you had a BAC level of .05 or less, then you are not presumed as driving under the influence of alcohol. However, if your normal abilities are clearly impaired then you may still be charged with a DUI. For example, if you fail a Field Sobriety Test.
Over .05 but less than .08
If your breath samples show that you had a BAC level of more than .05 but less than .08, then you are not presumed to be under the influence of alcoholic beverages. In these scenarios, other evidence is usually required to prove a DUI offense. Such as driving behavior in the police report, a urine sample and Field Sobriety Test.
.08 or More
If your breath test results show more than .08 then this is evidence that you were driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In Florida, there is no tolerance for driving over this legal limit.
How Many Drinks Is .08?
Every drink is different and the effects of each drink will vary depending on age, weight and time since consumption.
Responsibility.org has a virtual bar, where you can calculate your approximate BAC by entering your drinks, weight, height, age and time since consumption.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney in Florida
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, then our DUI defense lawyers can help. Our Florida criminal defense attorneys can fight on your behalf to help you avoid jail time and avoid a criminal record.
Ranger Jackson is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Pinellas County. He is a partner at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with the reputation and connections to make things happen.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300