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What Happens If You Refuse a Breath Test for DUI in Florida?

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woman getting breathalyzed

In Florida, when you receive your driver’s license, you automatically agree to take any chemical tests an officer asks you to take when at a traffic stop. This law, implied consent, makes refusing chemical tests, including breath tests, rather unwise in Florida.

If you are pulled over because an officer suspects you are driving impaired, you may refuse the field sobriety test without criminal penalties. However, refusing any chemical tests can result in more serious consequences. By refusing a breath test, you will likely face license suspension for one year, if this is your first refusal. Any subsequent refusals can lead to misdemeanor charges, an 18-month driver’s license suspension and up to a year in jail.

However, if you do choose to refuse a breath test, there are a few advantages. The state will allow you to drive for 10 days following your refusal, during which you will have the chance to request a formal hearing. If the hearing is successful, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may permit you to keep your license. Refusing tests will also give you the obvious advantage—there will be no test results to prove intoxication.

Nevertheless, even without official results, the arresting officer can still prove intoxication by recounting certain actions or behaviors characteristic of drunk drivers. Also, Florida law offers a program to forgive first-time DUI offenders who do take a breath test and fail to pass. To qualify for the pretrial diversion program, it must be a first offense, the driver must have had no prior drug charges, and must not have participated in the program before. As long as the driver blew under 0.16, which is twice the legal limit, the driver will qualify for the program and will have all charges dropped after completing the program.

For legal help concerning your Florida DUI, contact Owenby Law, P.A. and ask about a free initial consultation.