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Refusal to Take a Breathalyzer Test Florida


When you are pulled over by the police after you have had a few alcoholic beverages, your entire life may flash before your eyes, your mouth may become dry, and your heart will pound. With the penalties for a DUI conviction being so severe in the state of Florida, you have a good reason to worry. However, it is in your best interest to make good decisions when dealing with police officers (even if you have already made the regrettable choice of getting behind the wheel after drinking). Of the many choices presented, you will be tasked with deciding whether or not you should take a battery of potential tests that will help law enforcement officers to determine whether or not you are driving under the influence of alcohol (or any other substance that alters your perception).

With this in mind, a “refusal to test DUI” can have major implications. Though there are some tests that you can deny with little to no long-lasting consequences, denial of others can immediately land you in jail as well as guarantee that your license will be suspended. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is in your best interest to connect with an experienced DUI lawyer in Orlando (no matter if you have opted for a refusal to test DUI or not). This importance of working with an experienced DUI lawyer is even more necessary if you have refused a breathalyzer. Do not put your freedom and finances in further jeopardy by attempting to represent yourself against a well-funded and experienced prosecution.

The Consequences of Refusal to Test DUI

In general, there are three types of tests (but not limited to) that the police administer if they suspect that you are driving under the influence of alcohol. They include field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, or blood tests. Of the three, the only one that you cannot refuse is a blood test. In fact, the police can force a blood draw in cases where a crash results in injuries to others. You have the right to deny both field sobriety tests as well as a breathalyzer. However, you should be aware that there are immediate consequences of refusing a breath test. Learn more about the implications of refusing each type of DUI test below.

Field Sobriety Test

As part of a DUI investigation, officers in Florida will ask you to participate in voluntary field sobriety exercises. These will usually be video-recorded. The physical tests can include the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn. The officers may also ask you to follow the tip of a pen with your eyes to test smooth pursuit. This is known as horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). What you should know is that field sobriety exercises are not mandatory and it’s usually in your best interest to refuse participation.

Breathalyzer Test

As previously mentioned, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer. However, under Florida’s implied consent law, refusal of this test can result in an immediate license suspension as well as a forced blood draw (in cases of accidents involving injuries).

Blood Draw

If you’ve been involved in an accident with injuries to another, the police can ask the EMTs to draw blood. Even if you refuse, officers are able to force the blood draw if there are injuries. If you’ve been transported to the hospital, the police can pursue a warrant for your medical records to determine your BAC at the time you were brought in. It’s important to note that an involuntary blood draw can only be obtained in accidents with injuries

Understanding Implied Consent

According to Section 316.1932 of FL Statutes, any person that accepts the privilege to operate a motor vehicle within the state of Florida is deemed to have given their consent to submit to an approved chemical test to determine the levels of alcohol in their system if a police officer has probable cause to believe that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol. For the most part, this law mostly affects those who refuse a breathalyzer test. The penalty for a first refusal of a breathalyzer is that your license will be suspended for one year. Potential consequences for a second refusal (or more) can result in the following:

  • License suspension of 18 months
  • Fines reaching $1,000

In this circumstance, refusal to test does not necessarily mean that you verbally told a police officer that you will not take the test. The inability to successfully complete the breath test, aggression towards a police officer that makes it impossible for them to test, and/or silence can be construed as a refusal. If your license has been suspended for an implied consent refusal to take a breathalyzer, it is in your best interest to immediately connect with a DUI lawyer in Orlando.

Benefits of Hiring a Proven DUI Lawyer in Orlando

Police officers are acting within the law if they lawfully stop you for suspicion of driving under the influence (or for another credible reason). However, they must offer proof that their stop was indeed lawful. An experienced attorney will understand whether or not you stop and/or arrest was legal. Furthermore, working with a DUI lawyer in Orlando will significantly increase the likelihood of your case being dismissed, charges decreased, reaching a plea-bargain agreement, and/or lessened penalties (though no attorney can guarantee a specific outcome). Furthermore, if your license has been suspended for refusing a DUI test, an adept attorney can advise you on the best steps for having your license reinstated as quickly as possible.

Working with Parikh Law

In the state of Florida, well over 50,000 DUI-related tickets are written each year. Many people that are not convicted chose to work with a skillful attorney. At Parikh Law, we are thorough, knowledgeable, battle-tested, and trial-ready. We fight to ensure that your rights are not violated and intensely investigate any evidence against you. A DUI charge does not mean an automatic conviction. Work with an attorney that gives you the best chance of mounting a successful defense. Contact us to discuss the details of your DUI case today.