Ask Your Criminal Defense Attorney in Broward County about Refusal to Take a Breath Test

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18th Oct 2016

Many individuals who are stopped for drinking and driving refuse to take a breath test.  However, a criminal defense attorney in Broward County can point out the negative ramifications of taking this action.  A criminal defense attorney in Broward County can also advise someone when it is best to refuse a test and when it is not.

Florida’s implied consent law requires anyone who is lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to suspect the person has been drinking and driving to submit to a breath, blood or urine test.  This test is used to determine the blood alcohol content of the defendant.  It is considered a privilege to travel on Florida roadways and the state law holds that a test can be required if arrested for a DUI offense.

If a person refuses to take a required test, a mandatory license suspension is typically imposed.  The individual refusing the test should be informed by law enforcement of this penalty.  First time offenders risk losing their driver’s license for one year.  Additionally, if the individual already has a record of refusing to take a test, the law enforcement officer should inform the suspect that he or she may be subject to misdemeanor criminal charges as well as license suspension.  A second or third offense can result in a suspension of 18 months.  Additionally, a repeat offender who has refused to test on multiple occasions can face other criminal consequences, including jail time.

Of course, there are negative consequences of agreeing to take the test.  A criminal defendant may very well be handing over the same evidence that will be used to convict him or her.  On the other hand, a person may still be convicted of DUI even if he or she does not provide a breath test.  A criminal defense attorney can provide additional information on this subject so that a criminal suspect can make an informed decision at the relevant point in time.