One of the most common ways for law enforcement officers to check for drunk or impaired driving in Florida is through a Breathalyzer test. This electronic device measures the breath alcohol content of a driver to determine their level of impairment at the time of the test. Many drivers opt to decline the test in an attempt to avoid being charged with driving under the influence, though doing so can make the situation worse in some instances.
Florida’s Implied Consent Law
In Florida, being a licensed driver comes with an added responsibility: implied consent. Upon obtaining a driver’s license in the Sunshine State, you are automatically granting approval to submit to a Breathalyzer test when requested.
However, just because implied consent exists does not mean that you automatically have to comply. You have the right to refuse; it is crucial, though, that you understand the implications of doing so.
What Happens If You Refuse the Breathalyzer?
The first thing to note is that the implied consent law means you are subject to a mandatory license suspension if you refuse the Breathalyzer test. The first offense is a one-year license suspension; the second or third may result in an 18-month suspension and possible jail time.
Moreover, refusing the Breathalyzer will not automatically strengthen your case that you were not driving under the influence. Prosecutors can and will introduce other evidence to support their claim, including any erratic driving or failure to perform field sobriety tests correctly.
Understanding the Probable Cause Exception
The exception to a license suspension after refusing a Breathalyzer is if law enforcement had no probable cause to stop you. From a legal standpoint, law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion of you driving under the influence to stop you for a suspected DUI in the first place. If one does not exist, then you may be able to refuse the Breathalyzer without incurring the automatic suspension of your driving privileges.
However, there is no way for you to know whether this probable cause exists or not while on-site. This is something that your attorney would discover later while combing through the evidence of the stop and subsequent arrest.
Stopped on Suspicion of DUI and Subjected to a Breathalyzer Test? Reach Out to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Whether you submitted to a Breathalyzer test or not, you may be facing significant charges relating to a DUI. Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel has more than 30 years of experience assisting people in situations just like this. He will handle your case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his career.
Call The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at (561) 622-5575 today. Mr. Gabriel will evaluate your case free of charge. You can also complete our contact form today to learn more about how he may be able to help you overcome DUI charges.