You may have had a drink or two at a restaurant or a friend’s house and are driving home when suddenly you find yourself pulled over by police and being asked to submit to a breath test. You may think this is unfair, especially if you believe you are sober or are worried about getting a DUI. At times like this, it may be tempting to refuse to submit to the breath test. However, doing so has consequences. This is because of Florida’s “implied consent” laws.

What does “implied consent” mean?

As part of the privilege of driving in Florida, all motorists implicitly agree to submit to a breath test if asked to by police after lawfully being pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. However, officers must have reasonable cause that the motorist was driving under the influence of alcohol when asking the motorist to submit to a breath test.

What happens if I refuse a breath test?

Refusing to submit to a breath test when lawfully asked to do so has consequences. A breath test refusal can result in having your driver’s license suspended for one year if it is your first refusal. If it is a subsequent refusal, this suspension period rises to 18 months. In addition, a breath test refusal can be admitted as evidence in any criminal proceeding regarding the alleged DUI.

Think carefully before refusing a breath test

Those in the Jacksonville area who are pulled over on suspicion of DUI will want to think carefully before deciding to refuse a breath test. While there may be some benefit to it under certain circumstances, there are serious consequences that follow a refusal, even if the breath test would have indicated that your blood-alcohol concentration was below the legal limit. This post does not contain legal advice, so those who want to learn more about implied consent laws in Florida will want to seek professional counsel.