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Refusing a breath test: protects your rights, not your license

We'd like to start off today's post with a question for our readers to consider: how great is your understanding of driving laws in our state? If you're like a lot of people, you probably have a relatively good understanding of the laws because you've been driving for awhile. But is the sentiment the same when it comes to all aspects of driving?

Let's take for example being pulled over by a police officer who accuses you of drunk driving. They ask for you to submit to a breath test and take a field sobriety test. Do you know the laws that govern these kinds of traffic stops? Do you know if you have the right to refuse? Unless you're one of our more frequent readers, you might not know what to do in a situation such as this. Fortunately, it's something we're going to address today in this post.

It's important to point out right now that a Florida police officer can't say or do anything that might lead you to believe that you have to take a breath test or perform field sobriety tests. That's because, in our state, drivers do have the right to refuse these tests. The choice is up to you whether you exert this right, but know that it does have consequences.

As you may remember from a February post, refusing a breath test in Florida does result in an automatic driver's license suspension. As we explained in our most recent white paper concerning breath tests, after your license suspension, you have a 10-day period in which to obtain a lawyer and take actions that may protect your ability to drive legally. It's worth pointing out that things work a little differently for people who have already refused a breath test, which is why talking to a lawyer becomes even more important.

As some people will tell you, trying to refute DUI charges or getting them dismissed on a technicality can be challenging and may not be possible in every situation. Our readers should never assume that the officer has made a procedural mistake that could get their case thrown out either because this doesn't always happen. What you can do is refuse to take a breath test or field sobriety test because it denies prosecutors the evidence they need to get you convicted of driving drunk.

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