If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, chances are they have probable cause that you’ve been operating a vehicle while legally intoxicated. How can they tell? Well, they might have seen you swerving on or off the road or drifting into another lane – behavior consistent with someone who is driving under the influence. However, the state would also like some evidence that you are legally under the influence, which is where the Breathalyzer comes in. This machine will test your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. In Florida, a BAC of 0.08 or higher creates a presumption you are legally intoxicated.
Of course, you always have the right to refuse the Breathalyzer. But, should you blow nonetheless? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.
Reasons Not to Give a Breathalyzer
The primary reason not to take the test is strategic – you are gambling on the state not having enough evidence to convict you of driving under the influence. The easiest way to prove you are guilty would be to introduce a Breathalyzer test with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. However, if you refuse to blow, the state can’t identify your BAC.
Of course, the state can still convict you of DUI without knowing your BAC. How, exactly? The officer and other people can testify that they saw you driving erratically, and witnesses can also testify that they saw you drinking before getting into your vehicle.
Also, the state can introduce evidence that you refused to take a Breathalyzer test as some proof that you might have been intoxicated, and if that comes on top of police and witness testimony, jurors are likely to accept it.
However, if the state does not have strong enough evidence that you are impaired, it might not make sense to take the Breathalyzer test. It’s a gamble not to blow, but not an entirely unreasonable one.
Reasons to Give a Breathalyzer
The reasons to take the Breathalyzer test are many. If you aren’t really intoxicated, a result below 0.08 could help you. Plus, you can lose your license simply by refusing to take a Breathalyzer. If you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test, you will lose your license for at least a year. Each subsequent refusal to take a test results in longer suspension – 18 months.
Driving is a privilege, not a right, and all motorists give implied consent to take a chemical test, i.e. a Breathalyzer, if they’re pulled over for a DUI. Chemical sobriety tests are used to determine a person’s BAC either directly, through a blood sample, or indirectly, through urine and breath analysis.
Refusing to take a Breathalyzer is also a misdemeanor if you have previously refused to blow. So not only could you be convicted of a DUI, you might also end up with a misdemeanor conviction – doubling the trouble you are in.
If you’ve been arrested on suspicion of DUI and want to better understand your options, give us a call at 239-561-2820 today. The Law Office of Joseph Cerino is ready and willing to help your case.