DUI Defense and Breathalyzer Evidence
Jacksonville DUI Attorneys Explain When To Submit To A Breathalyzer Test
Understanding your rights under Florida law when asked to have your breath tested for BAC
You’ve had a long day at work and decide to stop at your favorite pub for a drink or two, to relax, unwind, and perhaps meet up with friends. You feel perfectly fine heading home until you hear sirens and realize you’re about to be pulled over. The police officer who stops you says he has probable cause to believe you’re driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and asks you to take a Breathalyzer test in which you blow into a device that gives the officer an estimate of your blood alcohol content, or BAC. In Florida, you’re considered to be driving drunk if your BAC measures .08 percent or above. Should you submit to such a test? What are the penalties if you decline?
Under Florida’s implied consent law, if you’re lawfully arrested for suspicion of DUI, you automatically consent to a Breathalyzer test as well as blood and urine tests. Driving is considered a privilege, not a right, under the law:If you refuse such tests, your license can be revoked or suspended. And your refusal can be used as evidence against you in a criminal proceeding. If you take a test, it may be possible to get a lesser charge. However, if you get a high result on a breath test, you are subject to enhanced penalties. The rule of thumb, generally, is not to take a breath test unless you are positive you will pass. Of course, all cases are different, and this information is not legal advice.
That’s why it’s not always in your best interest to submit to them. And then immediately call an experienced and skilled lawyer with Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A., to protect your rights. Our dui defense attorneys understand how scary a DUI arrest can be; we begin immediately to assuage your fears, gather all the facts of the case against you, and question the legality of law enforcement’s procedures as well as the accuracy of their tests.
The penalties for refusing a Breathalyzer test
If you refuse a Breathalyzer test and this is your first DUI arrest, the arresting office must tell you that your refusal results in an automatic license suspension of one year and can be used against you in court. If it’s a second or third offense, you face losing your license for 18 months but you also face incarceration. Refusal also adds fuel to the prosecution’s case against you. If you’re given the option of a Breathalyzer test or a blood test, it’s better to submit to the Breathalyzer test, since its results can be challenged.
Most of the time, if you refuse a Breathalyzer test, you cannot be forced to take it. Conversely, if you’re arrested on suspicion of DUI and the arresting officer fails to ask you to submit to such a test, you have the right under Florida law to request one and the officer must administer it. In either case, if you’re convicted of DUI, and especially if you were involved in an accident causing bodily injury to others or this is a second or subsequent offense, you face jail time, loss of your license, fines, and the installation of an ignition interlock device on your car in addition to other penalties.
As your advocates, we suggest you submit to a Breathalyzer test. We’ve had success challenging both its accuracy and administration, which can result in having the charges against you dropped.
Contact us for help with your DUI charge in Florida
If you’ve been charged with DUI, it’s important to seek solid legal counsel as soon as possible, to protect your rights and fight for your freedom. At Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A., our Jacksonville attorneys understand the wide range of penalties involved with DUI charges in Florida and are thoroughly prepared to offer you a determined defense. Contact us online or call our office today at 904-353-5800 for a free consultation with a member of our firm.
The person shall be told that his or her failure to submit to any lawful test of his or her breath will result in the suspension of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of 1 year for a first refusal, or for a period of 18 months if the driving privilege of such person has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to such a test or tests, and shall also be told that if he or she refuses to submit to a lawful test of his or her breath and his or her driving privilege has been previously suspended for a prior refusal to submit to a lawful test of his or her breath, urine, or blood, he or she commits a misdemeanor in addition to any other penalties. The refusal to submit to a chemical or physical breath test upon the request of a law enforcement officer as provided in this section is admissible into evidence in any criminal proceeding.