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Breathalyzer testing: Is it optional?

| Jul 24, 2020 | Criminal Defense

The vast majority of Florida residents know that if they get pulled over for suspected impaired driving, they will be asked to submit to sobriety testing — particularly breath testing. The Breathalyzer is a common device used by law enforcement to detect a person’s blood-alcohol level. When asked to give a breath sample, many people feel they have to comply, but the simple truth of the matter is one has the right to refuse — unless police obtain a warrant. Just know there may be consequences for doing so.

Florida, like other states, has implied consent laws that drivers agree to when they obtain their driver’s licenses. This means that they agree to submit to BAC testing in order to maintain their driving privileges. If one refuses to participate in a breath test, temporary license suspension is likely to follow. Other consequences in some states may include jail time, fines and loss of diversion program eligibility — among various others. So, is it worth it to say no?

Some people believe refusal is the best thing to do because test results are often inaccurate. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20% of people asked to submit to breath testing refuse. Others believe refusal is not the way to go, as some of the consequences for refusing may be worse than any penalties that may result from complying. At the end of the day, it is a personal decision.

Anyone who is facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol because they failed or refused Breathalyzer testing has the right to defend themselves in a Florida criminal court. Thankfully, this is something they do not have to do alone. With the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, charges may be dismissed or reduced, and driving privileges may be quickly restored.

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