Police may demand to test the blood alcohol level of any driver when they suspect impairment. In Florida, having a driver’s license equates to your implied consent to this testing.
While you do have the right to refuse to test, that refusal comes with heavy consequences.
What is a breath test?
A breath test measures your blood alcohol content. The state limit is 0.08%. If you fail the test, you are subject to penalties that vary depending on how far over the limit you are, and whether you have a previous history of driving over the influence (DUI).
When can an officer demand a breath test?
If police stop you for a moving violation, or if you have been in an accident, and the officer notices signs of impairment, they may demand a breath test. Signs of impairment include slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, difficulty organizing your thoughts to answer questions or the odor of alcohol in the vehicle or on your breath.
What happens if you refuse a breath test?
Refusing a breath test in Florida could lead to various consequences, including license suspension and fines. If you have previously had your license suspended or incurred fines for refusing a breath, blood or urine test, your penalties may be higher – and you could even be charged with a misdemeanor. Repeat offenses also often lead to higher fines and longer suspensions.
Police may also request field sobriety tests like asking you to walk a straight line or stand on one leg. Nervousness and underlying medical conditions can affect the results. The results of these tests are subjective and are rarely admissible in court. Having experienced legal counsel on your side can help you build a strong defense to any charges you may face.