No one has a “right” to a driver’s license. That’s why a license can be suspended or revoked for any number of reasons. Additionally, upon receiving a driver’s license, the recipient agrees to the stipulation that he or she take sobriety tests when asked. This rule is a form of implied consent. So when an officer asks someone to take a Breathalyzer test, the individual must comply. A refusal to do so could lead to legal consequences. That said, Florida law also mandates that the officer must be making a lawful arrest and have “reasonable cause” to believe the person was driving a vehicle or controlled the vehicle while under the influence.
The state’s statutes allow for a yearlong suspension of a person’s driver’s license for a first-time refusal. The refusal also counts as evidence in court. In a criminal DUI case, providing the prosecution with additional evidence could make a defense much more difficult.
A driver may refuse to take a physical or chemical sobriety test for several reasons. The false assumption that the state does not have the right to request the test may be among the most common. In some cases, an individual may be too cognitively impaired to realize the consequences of his or her action. Regardless, a suspect’s refusal won’t likely eliminate any legal woes.
Criminal law statutes may exact harsh penalties for DUI and related offenses. Persons facing such charges may wish to consult with an attorney.
Source: Online Sunshine, “The 2019 Florida Statutes,” Accessed August 29, 2020