Refusing a Breath Test in Florida
Skilled DUI attorney protects your rights after breath test refusal
Florida law provides that anyone who operates a motor vehicle on a public road has consented to take a blood alcohol content test after an arrest on suspicion of DUI. Refusing to take a breath, urine or blood test can subject you to an administrative suspension of your driver’s license for one year, even if you are not convicted of DUI. At The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A., we help clients who have refused a breath test in their efforts to retain their driving privileges. Mr. Yates has a strong track record both in DUI cases and in administrative hearings on license suspension.
When are you expected to take a blood alcohol test?
If you are pulled over, an officer who suspects you were driving under the influence of alcohol can ask you to undergo a field sobriety test. The law does not require you to participate, but the officer may tell you that passing the test is a way to clear suspicion and that a refusal to participate will result in your arrest.
However, you are required to submit to testing only after you have been arrested. At that point, the police are empowered to collect evidence of your blood alcohol content (BAC) in one of three ways:
- Breath test — This is commonly done with a Breathalyzer, an instrument that uses infrared light to measure BAC.
- Urine test — This test is a more accurate way to detect chemicals in the bloodstream.
- Blood test — This most invasive form of testing is done under limited circumstances, such as times when a breath or urine test is impracticable, when the DUI suspect has caused a crash causing injury or death or when the suspect volunteers.
If you refuse to be tested, the arresting officer will explain the consequences. However, in cases of serious injury or death, the law allows officers to use reasonable force to take a blood sample.
Limitations of breath tests and defenses to refusal
Breathalyzers are delicate instruments that must be regularly maintained. Officers must also be trained properly to use them, and evidence collected must be properly stored with chain of custody recorded. All of these requirements provide defendant drivers with grounds to challenge the evidence.
But what happens when you refuse a test and the authorities don’t obtain BAC evidence? At trial, authorities will rely on officers’ testimony of your impaired behavior and use your refusal to show consciousness of guilt. But regardless of the outcome of your DUI trial, your refusal has earned you a license suspension.
You may be able to avoid license suspension by proving that your refusal was reasonable and lawful. This can be done by offering such evidence as the following:
- The request was made outside the context of a lawful arrest.
- Officers lacked probable cause to request testing.
- Officers lacked reasonable suspicion for the initial traffic stop.
- You did not actually refuse.
- Officers lacked probable cause to think the suspect was driving the vehicle.
- Officers did not give a proper implied consent warning.
- You refused a request for a blood test when a breath or urine test was not impractical or impossible or when officers lacked probable cause to think you had caused an accident leading to death or injury.
- Officers made improper threats or promises to induce you to take the test.
Mr. Yates thoroughly investigates the circumstances of your DUI stop and subsequent testing procedures. He scrutinizes law enforcement conduct rigorously to determine if there were any errors that could overturn your automatic suspension.
Contact a proven defense lawyer to fight for your license after a breath test refusal in Orlando
The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. represents clients who face license suspensions for violating the implied consent law in Orlando and vicinity. To retain proven counsel, call today at 407-608-7777 or contact us online.