Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Florida?
It can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming situation to be stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence. In some states, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test at the scene. However, things are a little different in Florida.
Implied Consent Motorist Statutes
Every state has implied consent statutes for motorists. What this means is essentially that each state has laws that you have impliedly agreed to by driving on their state roads. One of these implied consent statutes dictates that anyone who holds a Florida license or operates a vehicle within the state, impliedly consents to taking one or more breath, blood, or urine tests if lawfully arrested for a DUI.
Consequences for Refusal
If you refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida, your license will immediately be suspended for one year. Often, individuals who already have a DUI on their record, hope that by refusing a breathalyzer they can avoid an additional conviction and the accompanying penalties. However, refusal can make the penalties worse. If you already have one or two DUIs on your record and refuse a chemical test, your license will immediately be suspended for 18 months. Additionally, depending on the circumstances, a refusal can result in a fine of $1,000, criminal charges, and up to a year in prison. While some may hope that by refusing the test, prosecutors will have less evidence to use against them, prosecutors often spin the refusal to take a test as proof of intoxication.