Refusing a breathalyzer test after being pulled over can still lead to a conviction for DUI. A myriad of other factors indicate whether you threw back one too many drinks before taking the wheel. For example, impaired motor skills, slurred speech, glassy blood shot eyes and the smell of alcohol may give you away.
Although you can refuse a field sobriety test and retain your license, this is not the case if you refuse a breathalyzer test. When you apply for your driver’s license, you give Florida “implied consent.” Once you are arrested, the officer should explain what penalties you face and that your refusal can be used against you in court.
Consequences for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
The first time you refuse to take a breathalyzer test you face suspension of your drivers license for one year. The court may grant a “hardship license” but only after a 90-day “no mercy” period. The two types of hardship licenses include one for “business purposes” and one for “employment purposes.” Business purposes restricts you to driving back and forth to work, required driving on the job, educational activities, church and medical emergencies. Employment purposes restricts you to only driving to work and back home, and any driving necessary to do your job.
Refusing a test a second and subsequent times carries further repercussions. Offenders face an 18-month license suspension and additional punishments, such as criminal charges.
Having prior DUI convictions and refusing a breathalyzer test for the first time results in a 12-month license suspension. In this case, hardship licenses are not an option.
There Are Other Ways to Refuse Than by Saying, “No.”
People typically think refusing a breathalyzer test simply means saying, “No.” However, you can refusing a breathalyzer test in other ways. The first is failing to blow hard enough two times within a certain time period. The second occurs when you provide two breath samples that are not within .02 of each other and you refuse a third test. Being abusive or argumentative to the officer also counts as refusal.
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