After practicing DUI law in Orlando for over twenty years, the one legal question I get time and time again is, “If I get pulled over in Florida for DUI, should I take the breathalyzer?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question.
I have heard some attorneys’ advice is that you that you should never submit to a breath test, but that may not be the best answer for every situation. While most people probably should refuse the breathalyzer after an arrest for DUI, there are times when it may be beneficial to you.
The best answer to this question is that you have to use your common sense. If you have not been drinking take the test. The breathalyzer can only measure alcohol in your system. If you have none in your system, you are fine and the machine should register .00.
If you have only had one alcoholic beverage, it probably would be in your interest to submit to the breath test. If you truly had very little to drink then you should blow under the Florida legal limit of .08. While any police officer could still arrest and charge you with DUI, an aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney is likely to have your DUI not result in a conviction.
If you have had enough to drink that you are not sure if you should take the breathalyzer, then you shouldn’t. If you are in doubt, then you probably are over the legal limit. Of course, if you are feeling impaired from drinking alcohol, it is best not to take the breathalyzer. By the time you take the breath test, the police officer has already made the decision to arrest you for DUI. If you have had too much to drink, then refusing the breathalyzer may be the best way not to give the State Attorney’s Office more evidence to prosecute and convict you of a DUI.
Unfortunately, most of these answers could have bad consequences with your driver license. If you refuse the breath test, your driver’s license will be suspended for this refusal for six months, if it is your first refusal, and eighteen months for second and subsequent offenses. You can also be charge with a crime if it is your second (or more) time refusing the test.
So, when it comes to asking, “Should I take the breathalyzer?” The bottom line is always use your common sense before making that decision. If you are ever charged with a DUI, then hire an aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney to fight the charges against you.