Breath tests are the single most important piece of evidence the State has in a trial for DUI.
Your decision to take a breath test its results carries a wide range of implications. Breathe test results impact a potential driver’s license suspension period in addition to a possible presumption that you are impaired in a trial setting. Even if you refuse the breathalyzer you are not shielded from its effect at trial. Refusals are admissible as evidence of guilt and convictions can be achieved using an argument that you refused the breath test because you didn’t want to give the State valuable evidence of your impairment. Here is what you need to know about breath tests as they relate to your case:
If you refuse a breath test on a first offense, your department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspension will be 12 months as opposed to 180 days had you provided a breath test?
A second breath test refusal results in an 18-month Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspension as opposed to 12 months had the individual given a breath test.
A second breath test refusal prevents the individual from obtaining a hardship license during the pendency of their driver’s license suspension period.
After a breath test refusal, if your attorney is unsuccessful in overturning your Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspension, you will endure a period of 90 days of “hard time” without any ability to drive prior to eligibility for a hardship license. If you give a breath test above .08 your “hard time” period is 30 days.
Giving a breath test registering below a .08 generally prevents the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles from issuing their administrative suspension.
Giving a breath test registering less than .05 will actually help your criminal case. Pursuant to Florida Jury Instruction 28.1 a breath test of .05 or below gives rise to a jury instruction that jurors “shall” presume that the driver was NOT under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
Per Florida Jury Instruction 28.1, a breath test registering between .05 and .08 gives rise to NO PRESUMPTION at all during trial that the driver was or was not under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
Per Florida Jury Instruction 28.1, a breath test registering above a .08 gives rise to a presumption at trial that the driver was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent his or her normal faculties were impaired. That evidence by itself is sufficient to find the individual is under the influence of alcohol without any other evidence submitted.
If you have previously refused to provide a breath test sample on a prior arrest, you can be charged with an additional first degree misdemeanor under Florida Statute 316.1939 for a second or subsequent refusal. This Refusal to Submit to Testing charge carries with it a possible county jail term of up to 11 months, 29 days and a $1000 fine.
For those under 21, driving with a breath or blood-alcohol level above a. Results in a suspension of 6 months for a first offense and 12 months for a second or subsequent blow above, A first time refusal of a breath test by one under 21 results in a 12-month suspension period and 18 months for a second refusal.