If I'm pulled over for DUI in South Florida, do I have to give a breath test or breathalyzer?
The most important thing to remember during a Florida DUI investigation is that you don’t HAVE to do anything.
There are penalties for refusing the breath test in Florida, however, so the South Florida police will try to scare you by telling you the punishment if you refuse the breath test. DUI police will try to scare you into saying “yes” to the breath test as part of the DUI investigation.
You can say “no” to a DUI breath test in Florida, but there are consequences…
If it’s your first time being pulled over for a DUI in Florida and your first time refusing to take a breath test, the penalty for refusing the breathalyzer is a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
If it is your second time refusing a breath test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 18- months. This doesn’t always happen, but a second-time breath test refusal can also be an additional crime in Florida. The state prosecutor may, or may not, decide to charge you with the additional breath test refusal crime.
So, Yes, you can say “no” to a breath test. But you must be aware of the consequences.
Here’s what Police DON’T tell you about breath tests while you’re investigated for DUI:
When police are investigating you, or have you pulled over for a DUI in South Florida, they will be quick to try to scare you into taking the breath test. BUT - they won’t tell you the consequence if you decide to blow and you ARE over 0.08.
If you decide to blow the breathalyzer and police find your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit of 0.08, your driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months and you’ve just given the prosecution solid evidence against you which could help their case to convict you of a DUI.
So, you risk a year of a driver’s license suspension by saying “no” to a breath test if it's your first DUI and first time saying no to a breath test in Florida. But, denying that evidence could be pivotal in getting a great result on your case.
Also, if you do blow and you are above the legal limit, you’re losing your driver's license for a solid period of time anyways.
Knowing this information, you can at least make an informed decision on whether or not you would want to consent to a breath test if police ever ask you as part of a Florida DUI investigation.
If you don’t blow and don’t consent to the breath test, and your license is suspended as a consequence of refusing the breathalyzer, you may still be able to save your license.
After you’re arrested for DUI, you still have 10 days to petition the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a hardship driver’s license. This means that you have the opportunity to petition to not lose all your driving privileges.
If you have any questions about DUI charges in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Sunrise or anywhere in South Florida, give one of our offices a call: