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Is the penalty for a refusal worse for a second offense?

During a traffic stop, drivers under suspicion of intoxication may be so nervous that they forget their basic rights. Fortunately, part of the officer’s spiel should be informing drivers of the penalty they may face for refusing a breath test. While the threat of license suspension may be a terrifying thought, it should serve as a reminder that everyone has the right to refuse chemical testing.

In Florida, a first breath test refusal offense results in a license suspension for one year. While this may seem like a substantial threat, it may actually be a better outcome than if a driver were to provide an over the legal limit breath test result.

For individuals that refuse chemical testing during their second offense, their license suspension may increase to 18 months and also carry a misdemeanor charge. Fortunately, a third refusal offense typically does not increase the period the driver’s license is suspended, but it may result in some jail time related to the charge.

It is important for drivers stopped on suspicion of DUI to remember that they have the right to refuse as well as request chemical testing. In the event a non-intoxicated driver has been stopped for DUI and has not been offered a breath test, they may request one at any time. If a suspected intoxicated driver is found unconscious behind the wheel, authorities may administer a chemical test without the driver’s consent.

To protect yourself against incrimination, it is important to stay informed of your rights. If you are facing DUI or breath test refusal charges, working with an experienced attorney may help.

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