When someone first learns that I am an Orlando criminal attorney who has
DUI cases both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney, they often have
many questions, such as: “if I’m pulled over, should I take
the breath test?”
There is no simple answer to this question. However, you should know that
many people believe that the machines are not accurate and could lead
to a false high result – causing them not to want to place their
fate in such a gadget. As a general rule, a person should not give evidence
that may be used against them. Therefore, refusing to take the breath
test may be prudent, unless the person is sure that they can rely on the
machine to show that they have no alcohol in their system. However, even
if a person chooses to take a breath test, the results may be thrown out
by the court (due to deficiencies in the approval, maintenance, calibration,
or implementation of the machine), which makes it harder for the government
to get a conviction.
The choice of whether to take a breath test also has legal consequences.
If a person takes the breath test and has a .08 result or higher, the
result will be used as presumptive evidence of impairment at trial (unless
suppressed) and the person’s driver license immediately suspended
for 6 months. If a person refuses the breath test, the refusal may be
used against them in court and their license immediately suspended for
12 months, if it is the first refusal. A second refusal is charged as
a separate misdemeanor and causes an immediate 18 month driver license
suspension. Furthermore, Florida recently enacted new laws adding stiffer
penalties for people who are convicted of a
DUI with a breath test result of .15 or higher.
If a person’s driver license is suspended because of being over a
.08 or refusing the breath test, that person’s attorney may challenge
the suspension by requesting a hearing within 10 days. A good attorney
can not only fight to win a person’s license back, but can also
assert legal challenges in court that may lead to a
DUI charge being thrown out or reduced. The most important piece of information
to remember is that if a person is charged with a
DUI, getting a skilled attorney is the best way to protect and assert their rights.
If you or any one you know is charged with a
DUI, call the
Orlando criminal attorneys at Longwell Lawyers. We offer free consultations.
Click or call (407) 426-5757 to get in touch with us.