If a police officer pulls you over and has a suspicion that you might have consumed intoxicating substances, they might ask you to undergo one of several different types of sobriety tests. One of these tests is commonly known as a breathalyzer – which is a machine that measures your blood alcohol content when you breathe into it. If the police pull you over and ask you to breathe into one of these devices, what are your options?
Can you legally refuse?
During interactions with the police, there are some things that you can constitutionally refuse to submit to. However, Florida law does not allow you to refuse a breathalyzer test without consequences.
This is because of Florida’s Implied Consent Law that applies to anyone with a drivers’ license in the state. Under the law, anyone who uses Florida’s roads to drive gives implied consent to submit to a breathalyzer test at the request of a police officer.
In other words, if you have a drivers’ license, and you refuse a breathalyzer, you can face legal consequences regardless of whether you are intoxicated or not.
What are the consequences of refusing?
As soon as you decline a breathalyzer test, Florida law allows the police officer that pulled you over to revoke your drivers’ license. They will take your license and give you a temporary permit that will allow you to arrive home. You’ll need to wait a year before you can get your drivers’ license back.
The consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test a second time are more severe. If you refuse a second time, you will have your license suspended for 18 months, and you will face misdemeanor charges.
If a police officer asks you to submit to a breathalyzer test, it’s important to know the consequences of refusing. It could be best to take the test, then hire an attorney and prepare your defense rather than risk losing your license.