If I get pulled over by the police in Florida, should I take or refuse a breathalyzer test?

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Question:

If I get pulled over by the police in Florida, should I take or refuse a breathalyzer test?

Answer:

One test for Florida drunk driving is the breathalyzer. There is no universal answer for whether a driver should take the test or refuse because it depends on many factors. Breathalyzers have undergone a great deal of scrutiny in recent years because they have been found to be unreliable. There are many older models of breathalyzers out in the police force in Florida and those machines may not provide evidence that is admissible in court.

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Florida, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles can revoke or suspend your driver’s license for one year. You can only do this once in your life without criminal consequences.  All drivers in Florida agree to be subjected to impairment tests when they apply for a driver’s license. If your driver’s license is suspended in Florida, you cannot go to another state to get a license until the suspension is complete.

In deciding whether to refuse a breathalyzer or take the test, you should consider whether you have ever refused a test in the past. If you have, you cannot refuse again. If you have never refused a test before, you should consider whether you think you will be under the legal limits of blood alcohol if you take the test. Blood alcohol varies from person to person depending on weight, type of alcohol or drug, amount of alcohol or drug and time period over which the substance was taken. 

It is possible to drink a little and not be over the legal limit for a DUI so there is no sense is refusing the test if you have not been drinking. It is also possible to be under the influence of some other drug which will not be detected by a breathalyzer. If you take a breathalyzer test and the results are against you, you should hire an attorney who has experience fighting the admissibility of the tests in court.  While many have successfully had the tests thrown out, it is impossible to know whether your breathalyzer test will be one of those found to be invalid. There are risks in not taking the test because you will essentially presumed to be guilty, and there are risks in taking the test if the blood alcohol level is very high.

References:

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