Know Your Rights and Obligations When It Comes to Breathalyzer Tests
Seeing flashing lights behind you can instantly up your heart rate, and if you’ve had a drink or two, you may be wondering if you’ll be asked to take a Breathalyzer. If the officer smells alcohol or believes you to be impaired, they may request that you take a breath test. Learn more about your rights and options below.
Breathalyzer Test: What It Is and How It Works
Breathalyzers have been used by law enforcement officers for years to help determine whether someone is driving under the influence. The driver blows into a thick straw that goes into a device. The device works by reacting with the alcohol vapor in the person’s breath. The more reaction that occurs, the higher the person’s blood alcohol level.
Florida’s Implied Consent Laws
The state of Florida has an implied consent law, which directly affects whether you can refuse a Breathalyzer. If the officer is just requesting that you take the test but you haven’t been arrested for driving under the influence, you can refuse the test. However, once the officer puts you under arrest for DUI, you are required to take either a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol level.
Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
The penalties for refusing a Breathalyzer can be very steep. According to Florida law, if you refuse to take a chemical test — which includes the breath, blood, and urine tests — your driver’s license could be suspended for one year. Subsequent refusals can mean that your license is suspended for 18 months. It’s also possible that you could be charged for refusing the test, and if convicted, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Failing a Breathalyzer Test
With the strict penalties for violating Florida’s implied consent law if you refuse a Breathalyzer, you may be wondering whether it’s better to take the test and fail. However, that can be very damaging to your case. Your blood alcohol level will become an integral part of the evidence against you, even if it wasn’t accurate. These devices have to be properly calibrated and administered to deliver accurate results, and there are medications and other substances that can bring about false readings. If you fail the Breathalyzer test — which usually means blowing a blood alcohol level above 0.08 — you will be arrested for driving under the influence.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Florida, call the seasoned dui defense advocates at Weldon Law Group, PLLC, at 904-204-3420. Whether you refused a breath test or failed it, we can help you understand what your legal options are for fighting back against the charges.