How a Flawed Breath Test Result Could Save Your DUI Case
Florida is a state that implements implied consent when it comes to DUI testing. This means if you are driving on Florida roads and undergo a DUI stop, you have essentially provided consent in advance to chemical testing after a stop. While you could refuse to take a breath test, the penalties for doing so are stiff and may exacerbate legal issues that may follow you for life.
What Implied Consent Means in Florida
Florida Administrative Code 11D-8 has specific laws regarding the state’s rules on implied consent for drivers. This law makes it clear that driving is a privilege within Florida, and by operating a vehicle, you agree to submit to testing as necessary. Further, the law makes it clear that any DUI cases that lead to death or bodily injury can require a blood test, forcibly administered by law enforcement if necessary.
Can I Refuse a Breath Test?
While the quickest way to avoid producing evidence of intoxication is to refuse a breath test, it is critical to understand that you will undergo immediate driver’s license suspension that can last at least a year. Worse, this punishment compounds itself for each instance you refuse to submit to a breath test.
The first time you refuse, your license is subject to a one-year mandatory suspension. For second and third refusals, you will receive an 18-month suspension and could potentially face jail time for your refusal. These punishments do not even begin to cover the fines and potential loss of your job due to lack of transportation, among other hardships.
Beyond these likely consequences, refusal to take a breath test will make you ineligible to participate in related diversion programs for DUI offenders. There is also the real possibility that you will still be charged and convicted with DUI despite there being no actual test evidence. This is why refusing to take a breath test could be worse than failing one.
What If I Failed a Florida Breathalyzer Test?
Even if you took and failed the breathalyzer, all hope is not lost. A criminal defense attorney can identify specific issues with the administration of the test. This knowledge can result in the exclusion of your test from evidence at trial.
Many alleged DUI offenders successfully defend against their charges by disputing the Intoxilyzer 8000, a common breath test used by Florida law enforcement. This device is far from perfect and can have technical issues. In addition, there are many reasons you can succeed in getting DUI charges reduced:
- Improper law enforcement procedures
- Lack of evidence
- Results of a chemical test could not be validated
- Driver was found to be mentally alert
- Plea bargain agreement was reached
Finally, a skilled Orlando DUI defense attorney may use some of the below admissibility factors regarding your breath test to help reduce or eliminate your charges:
- Lung function impacted by the driver’s age or other factors
- Conditions that could cause “mouth alcohol”
- Medical conditions you may have that impact results, like GERD or reflux
- Abnormal occurrences during the required 20-minute observation period before taking the test
To defend a failed breathalyzer, your attorney may be able to highlight any of these issues and question the validity of the test results. If this strategy works, the breath test evidence may be thrown out, and you could have a better chance to win your case.
Central Florida DUI Breath Test Lawyer
A failed breath test is sometimes all the justice system needs as evidence to convict someone of driving under the influence. Even so, there are many situations where the results are liable to be thrown out. A strong drunk driving defense lawyer can focus on these details to defend your name against serious DUI allegations.
At The Umansky Law Firm, we have extensive experience handling all aspects of DUI cases with Attorney William Umansky being a member of the National College for DUI Defense. Whether you refused the breathalyzer or tested over the legal limit, we are prepared to help you get your charges dropped or reduced.
As top-rated attorneys on Avvo, our team has a track record of success at trial in DUI cases. We appreciate that you have a lot at stake, and we never lose sight of this when aggressively defending you against the prosecution. Call our office or contact us today for more details.