Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
A question I get a lot is, “Can I refuse a breathalyzer test?” And the direct answer is yes, you can, but unfortunately, it’s not really that simple. The option rests with you as the arrestee to submit or comply, but you can’t exactly refuse with complete impunity, otherwise everyone would do it. What you have to remember is that there are going to be consequences for doing so, so you have to decide if it’s worth it for you. Just by driving on the roads in Florida, you have implied your consent to submit to a breathalyzer test if you ever asked. If you revoke that consent, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can take a number of actions, including suspending your license. If you've previously refused in the past, you might even be charged with a separate criminal misdemeanor. And if you’ve already been arrested, you can’t refuse a test of your blood, breath, or urine without having your license suspended and the evidence of your refusal used against you in court. On the other hand, if you’ve been arrested and you know for a fact that taking an alcohol test will exonerate you but you haven’t been given one, you may ask for one, and the officer is required to give you one.
There are a variety of reasons why it might be prudent to refuse if you're ever asked. But you also have to be cognizant of the consequences of that and weigh those against the benefits. While the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test are less extreme than the penalties for a DUI conviction, refusing a breathalyzer test doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be convicted; at which point, you would be facing the penalties for both refusing the test and DUI. In the absence of test results that conclusively give your blood alcohol content at or past .08%, the state will use your refusal to take the test as proof that you knew you were intoxicated and didn’t want to reveal it. It’s a difficult decision that is only ever made in a high-stress situation, and it’s hard to know the right thing to do. That's where an attorney with knowledge of how the DUI laws work comes into play. We understand the nuances and appreciate the risks of any legal decision you might make, and it’s worth taking the time to get a lawyer’s advice before you’re ever put into a situation where you have to make a blind decision. Sometimes it's better to educate yourself on the front end, because, by the time you're in a lawyer's office because you've been arrested for DUI, it's too late to make that informed choice. If you’re facing DUI charges, contact us— from 2015 to 2016, we had a 100% acquittal rate for DUI cases. If you just want to be prepared for the eventuality of a breathalyzer test, get in touch, and we’ll give you the information you need to protect and defend yourself.