If law enforcement stops you for suspected drunk driving, they will typically use several techniques to learn whether you have had any alcohol. To this end, they may ask you to perform roadside sobriety tests, as well as to submit to a blood, breath or urine test.
Seeking to avoid possibly incriminating yourself, you may consider refusing to submit to chemical testing for blood alcohol concentration. Before doing so, however, you should know the potential repercussions of that action.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the state’s implied consent law requires you to agree to chemical testing if asked by law enforcement. In obtaining your driver’s license, you also consent to provide a breath, blood or urine sample for the purpose of determining your BAC level.
Under some circumstances, the authorities may force you to submit to testing, whether you consent or not. This includes cases in which a serious injury or death occurs, or in the event you suffer unconsciousness.
Refusing to submit to alcohol breath testing carries consequences. For a first-time refusal, you face an automatic one-year suspension of your driver’s license. Should you refuse a second chemical test, the suspension period extends to 18 months. The state will also commonly charge you with a first-degree misdemeanor.
The penalties you face for refusing breath tests come in addition to any levied by the court for a DUI conviction or guilty plea. Therefore, if charged with driving under the influence, you may pursue all your options, including identifying if the authorities violated your rights in performing chemical testing.