During a traffic stop for a suspected DUI, the officer will typically request that you take a test that will determine how much alcohol you have in your body. This is usually a roadside breathalyzer. You breathe into a machine and it calculates your blood alcohol content.
According to the Florida Statutes, when you obtain a driver’s license with the state, you agree to submit to this DUI testing. In addition, driving within the state also provides an automatic agreement to testing even if your driver’s license is from another state.
Before an officer administers the test or does anything in reaction to you not submitting to it, he or she must tell you of your rights. This includes stating that if you refuse to take the test you could lose your driver’s license for up to one year.
If you have previously refused to take a breathalyzer test, then the officer must inform you it becomes a misdemeanor crime and you face penalties for that crime, including up to 18 months suspension of your driver’s license.
The state may also be able to use your refusal against you in court. It becomes evidence in your case just as any results from the test would become evidence. It is up to the law enforcement agency to ensure the breathalyzer is used properly and in accordance with the law or you could have grounds upon which to object to the testing.
The law does specify that you must be under arrest for this to apply. So, if you are not under arrest, you may be able to refuse without penalty.