If I Am Pulled Over By The Police in Florida, Do I Have To Take A Breathalyzer Test?
The police cannot physically force you to take a breathalyzer test; however, if you refuse one, there are legal consequences under Florida law.
Legal consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test:
Driver’s license suspension for a period of 1 year for the first refusal (may still be eligible for a hardship, business purpose license)
Driver’s license suspension for a period of 18 months for the second refusal
If the person has previously refused a breathalyzer, then the second refusal can be charged as a misdemeanor criminal offense (it is not a crime to refuse a breathalyzer for the first time)
The refusal can be used as evidence against you in a criminal proceeding, such as a trial or hearing
A refusal can result in the prosecutor asking for a harsher sentence
In Florida, by driving a vehicle, you are legally agreeing to take a breathalyzer test if you are suspected of being under the influence
Florida statute 316.1932, referred to as the “implied consent law", states that if a person accepts the privilege of driving in Florida, then they are deemed to have given consent to submit to an approved chemical test for the purpose of establishing blood alcohol content. Essentially, this means that by driving in Florida you agree to take a breathalyzer test if you are in actual physical control of a vehicle and an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that you may be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired.
Be aware that if you do take the breathalyzer test and the result is over .08%, it can be very detrimental to your defense
It is much easier for a prosecutor to prove a DUI case if there is a breathalyzer test of .08% or higher. Florida law states that if the breathalyzer test indicates that a person has a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, the judge or jury can presume that the defendant was legally intoxicated. Therefore, the breathalyzer test, in and of itself, can be sufficient evidence to convict one for driving under the influence. This can make it much easier for the prosecutor to prove the DUI case.