What Happens if I Refuse a Breath Test in Florida?

“What happens if I refuse a breath test in Florida?” is one of the most frequently asked questions to a DUI attorney. If you refuse a breathalyzer there will be immediate consequences to your driver’s license. If you refuse the breath test for a first time DUI, you will lose your license for one year. There are ways to obtain a hardship for that one-year period, so it is important that you contact an experienced DUI attorney. An experienced DUI attorney can help you obtain a hardship license if this is your first DUI and can obtain a temporary permit for you to drive if it is your second DUI. The hardship license will allow you to drive to work, to the store, to church, or to anything that is personal to you and your obligations to you and your family to survive financially. In other words, you cannot drive to the beach with a hardship license.

Refusing has more serious repercussions to your driving privileges, but it makes it more difficult for the State to prove the DUI charge in court. The State will not have a key piece of evidence against you which is what your blood alcohol level was. Coupled with a good performance on the field sobriety tests on video, our firm is often able to get the charges reduced to a Reckless Driving or obtain a not guilty verdict at trial.

No matter what happens in court, you will still have a suspended license for one year if you refuse. That is because the suspension is through the Department of Motor Vehicles and not suspended by the court. In order to obtain this special hardship driver’s license and reduce your charges, it is important that you contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. I have handled over a thousand DUI charges as a prosecutor and defense lawyer. If you refused the breath test, do not walk into court and plead guilty at the first hearing. Speak to a DUI lawyer because you may have a great defense to your DUI charge.

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Ray Lopez has practiced since 1990, with prior experience as a Hillsborough County assistant State attorney and lawyer for the Tampa Police Department. He handles all criminal charges, from traffic violations and misdemeanors to serious felonies and federal drug charges. He practices in all state and federal courts of the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida, as well as criminal appeals, juvenile court, administrative hearings, and civil forfeiture proceedings.

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