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Can I refuse to take a breathalyzer?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2017 | DUI Defense

You know the potential consequences of drinking and driving in Florida. However, that does not stop you from wondering if you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer. You may not have consumed enough alcohol to qualify as drunk. But there is an officer knocking on your window, asking you to step out of your vehicle for the test. If you value your driving privileges, you should consider abiding by their request.

You cannot be forced to take a breathalyzer test if you do not want to. But if the officer decides to detain you because of probable cause, then you could ask for them to administer the test to you. Keep in mind that if you refuse the test and it is later discovered that your BAC is over the legal limit, then your refusal can lead to stiffer penalties. If you have prior DUI convictions, refusing to blow into a breathalyzer or take any field sobriety test can result in your arrest and a misdemeanor charge, states

The consequences of refusal

The first time you refuse a breathalyzer test you will lose your driving privileges for one year. The next two incidents the first time you refuse a breathalyzer test can result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license 18 months. Of course, these penalties may not seem too serious. But, if you normally drive back and forth to work and other places, the penalties can be a great inconvenience and embarrassment.

Additional penalties

In addition to losing your driving privileges, you may face other consequences, especially if you are later convicted of drunk driving, such as jail time, fines, community service, having your vehicle impounded and equipped with an ignition interlock device and more.

Drunk driving is a crime that carries some harsh penalties. But you still have rights when you drive after drinking alcohol.