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Getting pulled over for any reason can be an intimidating experience, but if you’ve been driving in Florida and an officer suspects you of being under the influence of a substance, the situation can turn scary quickly. When you’re asked to take a breathalyzer test, you might feel obligated to do so whether you’ve been drinking or not. But what would happen if you refused? Florida has some pretty strict laws when this happens; let’s examine some of the potential consequences.

What Does The Law Say?

You might think you cannot refuse a breathalyzer test in Florida, but you can. When you apply for your driver’s license you sign a form that states you will consent to any sobriety test required by law. However, there may be several reasons someone may not want to submit to a  breathalyzer test.

Some people think that the only reason a person refuses the breathalyzer is because they were drinking and would blow over .08, but an arrest may be unlawful to begin with; there could be issues with the breathalyzer machine; or the person administering the test may not follow the proper protocol.  

Whatever the reason, a person who chooses to refuse the breathalyzer test must understand the potential consequences.  First, you need to be aware that if you refuse the test after requested by a police officer, you will be arrested. Also, you might face losing your license for up to one year on your first refusal or longer for a repeat offense.

Special Circumstances To Consider

Florida law designates that if a person refuses a breathalyzer test during an arrest that is unlawful, they will not face the penalty of a license restriction. For example, if there was no legal/ justifiable reason for an officer to pull someone over or the officer did not follow the proper procedure, then someone’s “refusal” to submit to a breathalyzer will have no ramifications. Even if there was a lawful arrest, a person may qualify for a hardship license for work or school purposes, or could retain their right to drive through an administrative hearing with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle.

My best advise is that if you are going to drink, have a designated driver or get an Uber. No one should drink and drive, but anyone who consumes alcohol and drives should know about these important regulations so that they will be prepared should they get pulled over. If you have questions about a specific incident that happened to you or need help fighting a DUI case, contact The Law Offices of Sabrina Puglisi today.