In every Florida driver’s license is the statement, “Operator of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law.” This means that if an officer stops you because he or she has reasonable cause to suspect you of driving under the influence, you are legally bound to take the breath test, when asked by a traffic officer, to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Refusal to take the test would mean the risk of losing your right to drive legally. License suspension for those charged with DUI can last for up to 12 months for first-time offenders, and 18 months for the second and third.
If a DUI case involves property damage or injury, the charge may be considered a felony, which means tougher penalties of imprisonment and huge fines for the offender. Felony DUIs often lead to trials where prosecutors usually use the defendant’s refusal to take a breathalyzer test as a sign of guilt. But there are justifiable cases for a refusal which juries take into consideration.
On the other hand, even if an individual takes the test, a good criminal defense attorney can, within bounds, come up with multiple arguments to raise questions against the result’s evidentiary value. There are many factors that can affect and render these tests dubious, among them, the defendant’s illness, medication, mouth appliances the person may be wearing, activities engaged in prior to the test, as well as atmospheric pressure, and even the condition of the machine itself.