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What happens if I refuse a breath test in Florida?

Most people here in Florida actively try to follow the law because they know that if they break it, they could face serious legal consequences that could lead to fines and even time in jail. With some criminal offenses, a past charge could have a significant impact on future charges, resulting in even steeper fines and even longer prison sentences.

Unfortunately, some people may find themselves still accidentally violating the law. Take for example a refusal to take a breath test. For a lot of our readers, you’ve probably heard someone say, “if you get pulled over for drunk driving, you should always refuse a breath test.” Many times, people use this rationale because they think that it will allow enough time to pass for alcohol to leave a person’s system. In other cases, people use this reasoning because they believe that it will prove to the officer that they know their rights and that the person will not let the officer wrongfully accuse them of breaking the law.

Whatever reasoning you may have for refusing to take a breath test, you should know that here in Florida, every driver who has a driver’s license has already consented to breath testing under our state’s implied consent laws.

According to Title XXIII, Chapter 316, Section 316.1932 of the Florida Statutes, refusing to submit to testing automatically results in the suspension of a person’s driving privileges for a period of one year. If the driver has a previous refusal on their record, the suspension is extended to 18 months and the person may be charged with a misdemeanor.

If you refuse breath or chemical testing of your blood or urine, an officer may still want to determine your level of intoxication, which means you could be taken into police custody after refusing. This is important to note as further refusal could result in steeper charges. Refusals are also considered admissible evidence in criminal proceedings as well and could affect the outcome of a case as well.



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