What happens if you refuse a Breath Test in Florida?
What happens if you refuse a breath test in Florida in regards to a DUI or DWI investigation? This question has various answers. Furthermore, if you refuse a breath test, two separate potential effects will impact your case, especially your first-time offense.
If you refuse, there is an administrative suspension that comes into play. There is a one-year license suspension. Depending on how you move forward with DHS S&T suspension, you can have hardship for that entire period. If you don't accept the suspension and you challenge it, or you don't try and preserve your license, you will have a 90-day window where you can't drive at all. Then, that will be followed up by a 12-month period in which you're on the hardship of business under license.
That's the first and immediate effect that occurs. If you're successful and challenged the DMV, you can get your full license reinstated. However, that is a very low percentage of cases. In this situation, you need to understand there is a license revocation school.
If it is a second refusal with users, you could be looking at 18 months and no driving under any circumstances or hardship licenses. Therefore, that is a very significant and severe outcome in regards to a second refusal.
The Criminal Aspect for the First-time Refusal
If you refuse the breath test, what it does, is turns it into more of a subjective allegation. Therefore, without a breath test, which is scientifically validated to measure and determine the level of alcohol in your breath and would be evidence in a criminal investigation, it becomes subjective.
The state gets to use the refusal in an argument against you called guilty conscious. The state will always do this and say, "They didn't take the breath test because they knew they would blow above the BAC level." That may or not be true, but that will be the argument they get to use.
However, it also deprives the state, as mentioned before, an objective scientific measurement. So, it can potentially help your case criminally. It all depends on the circumstances; every DUI is unique. They all have their issues, problems, and strengths. So, to give a blanket statement and say you should always refuse is not necessarily the case. It may or not help your case, depending on what other evidence exists, such as the field video or the individual at the time of driving. Things of that nature may validate that the refusal was because somebody believed they would be over the legal limit.
Therefore, there's no blanket statement on whether or not you should refuse. Generally, if you do not give them the breath test, then they don't have an objective measurement of the BAC level would be.
The Criminal Aspect for Second-time Refusal
If it is a second-time refusal criminal belt, then there will be an additional criminal charge. On the first refusal in a DUI, there's no criminal charge that comes into play. If you refuse a breath test for the second time, it is a first degree misdemeanor of choosing to submit to breath testing. That is its independent crime and potentially very difficult to defend against. All the state needs to do is show evidence or proof of a prior refusal. It doesn't matter why that refusal took effect, but it did. Then, it refused all the services again.
The refusal aspect can have numerous outcomes in your case. It can also have a myriad of consequences when it comes to your license, and the results are a charge that will likely come forward. It's essential to contact an attorney so they can go over your case. They can also research the facts you will have to deal with and what defenses they will have to take to preserve and use to help you through this process. If you're looking for the best DUI Lawyer in Orlando, contact us today.
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