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What are the consequences of refusing a breath test?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2019 | Drunk Driving

Generally, Florida drivers know that they have to obey traffic safety rules such as driving below the speed limit and stopping at red lights. What they may not know is that they have consented to a breath test in exchange for their driving privileges.

These tests, frequently known as Breathalyzer tests (for a brand name of one device police sometimes use) allow the police to document a driver’s blood alcohol content, or BAC. When Florida drivers get their licenses, they agree to submit to a breath test if they are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.

This means that a driver’s license can be revoked or suspended by the state of Florida if the driver does not submit to a breath test when under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Therefore, under implied consent laws, refusal to take the test could result in serious consequences even before the drunk driving charges land in court. Driving licenses can be suspended for up to 12 months for BAC test refusal. If the person suspected of drunk driving had previously been convicted on similar charges, the consequences can be even more serious.

Unfortunately, many people may think that refusing a breath test may help their case. However, this is not true. DUI charges can be based on other evidence collected at the scene, including officer observations and witness testimony. They can also conduct field sobriety tests. It is possible that the BAC test refusal can also be used against the suspected drunk driver in court.

Having discussed the consent laws, it is also important to know that police officers cannot pull over drivers without any reason. The officer should have probable cause to pull someone over and have warned the driver of the consequences of refusing a breath test. There are also other prongs on which a drunk driving charge may be challenged and an experienced attorney can discuss one’s options with them.