In the State of Florida, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Breathalyzer test results are often the most important piece of evidence for a Florida prosecutor to have at her disposal during a criminal trial or during plea bargain negotiations.
Under Florida law, you are required to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for DUI. Florida’s implied consent law states that if you are arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe you were operating your vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you have impliedly consented to a chemical blood test in order to determine your BAC.
What Happens upon Arrest?
Once you have been arrested for a suspected incident of DUI, the officer should inform you that your refusal to take a breathalyzer test will result in an automatic driver’s license suspension. Your refusal to take the test may also be used against you in court.
Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test
In most situations, if you refuse to take a mandatory breathalyzer test, you cannot be forced to do so. Whether or not you should refuse a breathalyzer test is a complicated question and depends on a number of factors. While there can be consequences associated with taking a breath test, it is critical to keep in mind that providing a breath sample will create evidence that can be used against you. Generally speaking, the more evidence a prosecutor has, the stronger his or her case, which can make a conviction more likely or result in a less than ideal plea bargain offer. For this reason, you should carefully consider your options when asked to provide a breath sample during a traffic stop.
It is important to note that while the police may tell you that you will lose your license, an attorney may be able to challenge the suspension of your license so that you are able to continue to legally drive while your case is pending. This legal challenge must happen within 10 days of your arrest, however, so it is important to contact a lawyer as soon you can.
If you are ultimately convicted of DUI, then the possible penalties may include the following:
- Substantial fines
- Community service
- Jail time
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
It is also important to note that the prosecution may use your refusal to take a breathalyzer test against you at trial and can argue that you refused to take the test because you knew that you were intoxicated at the time.
Contact a St. Petersburg DUI Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have been charged with DUI, you need experienced legal representation on your side. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida DUI defense lawyer, please call us Khonsari Law Group at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online.