Should I Submit to a Breathalyzer Test in Orlando?
An officer must have probable cause when pulling over under suspicion of DUI. Typically, one may demonstrate erratic or unsafe driving behavior that gives the officer the suspicion that intoxication is a factor. The state requires more than assumptions and must use scientifically-based evidence of your impairment at the time of your stop to find you guilty of DUI.
The most popular method that law enforcement relies on is the breathalyzer test. These devices can test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The result becomes a piece of evidence against you. Florida also allows for a presumption of someone’s impairment based on the result. Anything over 0.08% automatically assumes illegal intoxication, but it’s not the only method law enforcement may use to prove you’re intoxicated.
So, if you are pulled over, do you have the right to refuse BAC testing via a breathalyzer, urine or blood test? Or, should you go ahead and submit to the officer’s demands? Let’s examine your options and possible consequences if you should ever find yourself in this position.
Reasons a Person Might Refuse a Breathalyzer Test
Individuals during a DUI stop have refused to blow into a breath test thinking this is the only way the state will have ammunition to win in court. This could in some cases be a mistake and refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test will result in automatic suspension of one’s license and possible jail time if it is a subsequent refusal. A breath test often feels like a violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights; yet, due to implied consent laws, this is not the case.
Refusing to provide law enforcement officers with a breath test result might seem like an easy way to avoid a DUI, but the State of Florida allows jurors to make assumptions based on circumstantial evidence, too. If witnesses testify they watched you drive in an unsafe manner or erratically, or worse, that they saw you drinking before getting on the road, conviction of a DUI is possible. The same goes for the testimony provided against you by the stopping officer. Simple statements that allude to drunken breath, inability to walk normally and slurred speech could sway a jury to find you guilty without a BAC ever submitted as evidence.
Refusing to take a breathalyzer gives the state an opportunity to claim you declined because you were drunk and didn’t want to provide proof. This type of argumentation may convince jurors of your guilt.
A DUI conviction may include, but is not limited to:
- Jail or prison time
- Alcohol treatment programs
- Loss of drivers license and insurance
- Loss of professional licensing
At the end of the day, it’s up to you and what you think will have the best result. If you have a high BAC tolerance and you were in control of your faculties at the time of your stop, you might win your case, but that is a slim chance. Consulting with an experienced DUI defense attorney is critical in Florida and one should not wait until the last minute to retain one.
Reasons a DUI Suspect Might Submit to a Breathalyzer
If an officer tries to charge you with DUI when you were not intoxicated, a breath test result may clear your name. A test result below 0.08% could help you in court, though it might not outweigh circumstantial evidence.
Another good reason to submit to a BAC test involves automatic revocation of your driving privileges for a year. Florida uses “implied consent” when demanding chemical testing from drivers suspected of DUI. Under state law, one automatically agrees to chemical testing if he or she is suspected of DUI as a condition of having the privilege to drive in the first place. Unless you pulled over illegally or without probable cause, you will lose your license for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or other BAC testing method. If you refuse again, the license suspension increases to 18 months.
On top of its license revocation policies, the State of Florida also charges those who refuse to blow with a misdemeanor if it is the defendant’s second or more time refusing to submit to a breathalyzer. This doubling down on consequences encourages many to go ahead and take a BAC request during a DUI stop.
Retain an Orlando DUI Attorney Now
The Umansky Law Firm understands that deciding whether to submit to a breathalyzer test is a difficult decision. While refusing might help your case in some instances, it will likely hurt you in other ways, such as by affecting your driving privilege. Our law firm has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of our clients in DUI cases and have a team of qualified attorneys who focus on this area of law.
As former prosecutors, our criminal defense team has an advantage in the courtroom with our over 100 years of combined experience in defending DUI in Orlando and throughout Central Florida. Recognized as one of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite in 2018, you can trust our reputation of dedication to getting you the second chance you deserve. Contact our office today to receive a free case evaluation and learn how we can get you back on the road sooner.