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What are the consequences for breath test refusal?

It's a sight no one in Florida wants to see while driving -- the flash of red and blue lights in their rear-view mirror and the sound of police sirens blaring. Being pulled over can be a stressful experience, but that stress is ratcheted up when the officer requests that you perform a breath test on suspicion of drunk driving. Florida drivers might wonder, do they have to comply with that request?

While a person can refuse a breath test, there are consequences for doing so. This is because of implied consent laws. Basically, these laws mean that, in exchange for the privilege of being able to operate a motor vehicle in Florida, drivers implicitly agree to perform a breath test when asked.

So, what are the consequences for refusing to submit to a breath test? If it is a driver's first refusal, the fact that they refused to take a breath test may be admitted as evidence in any subsequent drunk driving court proceedings. In addition, the driver will have his or her driver's license suspended for 12 months. If it is a driver's second or subsequent breath test refusal, this will be considered a first-degree misdemeanor. In addition, if it is a driver's second or subsequent breath test refusal, his or her driver's license will be suspended for 18 months.

As this shows, while a driver may have many reasons as to why he or she wants to refuse to submit to a breath test when asked, he or she should think carefully before doing so. An attorney can help explain implied consent laws and can discuss the plusses and minuses of breath test refusal.

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