You are driving home after an evening out with family and friends when you suddenly see red and blue lights flashing through your rear-view mirror. You are stopped and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
However, to convict you, the prosecution must prove that you have broken the law by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. This is where the Breathalyzer test comes in. But what happens if you refuse to take the Breathalyzer test?
Florida is an implied consent state
For starters, it is important to note that Florida, like all the other states, is an implied consent state. Basically, this means that anyone in possession of a driver’s license in the Sunshine State shall automatically yield to a Breathalyzer test should the police request them to do so.
What are the exact consequences of a Breathalyzer refusal?
Under Florida law, a first Breathalyzer test refusal will result in the suspension of your driver’s license for 12 months. Subsequent refusals will attract an 18-month suspension of your driver’s license. Besides the suspension of your driver’s license, second and subsequent refusals can also result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
Keep in mind that refusing to take the Breathalyzer test may not automatically mean that you will avoid being charged. The police may be able to obtain other chemical testing through a warrant, or use body cam evidence and witness testimony to present their case in court. In addition, your refusal to submit to breath testing can be used in court as evidence that you knew you would fail the test.
With that in mind, it may be in your best interests to submit to the breath test and fight about the validity of the results in court, later.
Drunk driving is a serious offense in Florida, just like it is in all the other states. If you are charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, it is important that you explore your defense options.