Ah, the infamous Breathalyzer.
A news station in central Florida reported that four out of 10 drivers stopped for DUI in Florida refuse breath tests. So, should you, too?
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve been asked, “Do I blow or do I not blow if I’m pulled over for a DUI?”
But the answer isn’t as straightforward as many would like as it’s a matter of knowing the facts, knowing your rights, and making the decision that is best for you. First, you should know that constitutionally, you have the right to protect yourself against self-incrimination – meaning you have the right to refuse to provide additional evidence which will be used against you.
So when faced with a possible DUI conviction, your primary goal should be to not further and unnecessarily incriminate yourself, in turn strengthening the state’s case against you. If you know you are intoxicated, you may politely refuse to take a breath test and any other task such as field sobriety exercises. The consequences of this strategy vary for each case, but one thing is certain: You will deprive the state of arguably the most critical piece of evidence they can use against you.
That said, you should still know the pros and cons of refusing the breath test before making your decision.
The Pros of Refusing a Breath Test:
- The advantage of refusing a breath test is that the state will not have a breath result to use as evidence against you. Because …
- … if you blow a result higher than .08 BAC, it is considered presumptive evidence that you are guilty of driving under the influence – which means a jury could convict you of the crime of DUI regardless of any other evidence in the case.
- … if you blow a BAC result over .15, the state can seek enhanced jail time and an ignition interlock, so refusing the breath test eliminates the risk of a high blow and a proportionately high punishment.
- A number of uncontested studies have shown a margin of Breathalyzer error as high as 50 percent – a margin that could mean facing a conviction for a .1 BAC when, in reality, your BAC could’ve been .05.
- Your attorney may have additional defense strategies available for use compared to a case with a high BAC.
The Cons of Refusing a Breath Test:
- Your license will be suspended for 12 months for a first refusal and 18 months if you have previously refused to take a lawful blood, breath, or urine test. If you submit to a breath test and blow over a .08 the suspension is 6 months.
- You may not be eligible for a hardship driving permit for 90 days.
- Evidence of your refusal to take the test may be admitted into evidence as a ‘consciousness of guilt.’
Regardless of your decision to blow or to not blow, the consequences of a DUI conviction are serious. If you’ve been arrested or charged with a DUI, let the experienced DUI attorneys at Anton Castro Law help you avoid a costly DUI conviction.