Florida DWI: What Happens If You Refuse A Breathalyzer Test?

Florida DWI: What Happens If You Refuse A Breathalyzer Test?

A breath test is one of the most common ways that police officers determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). An officer who suspects you of intoxication might ask you to breathe into a breathalyzer, an instrument that measures BAC via the presence of ethanol in your breath. If the device measures your BAC above 0.08, you’ll likely be arrested on suspicion of DWI in Florida.

You can refuse to take this test. In fact, refusal may be your best option depending on the circumstances. Just be aware that refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test carries consequences.

Implied Consent

When you apply for a driver’s license in Florida, you implicitly grant consent to field sobriety tests. If a police officer suspects that you’re driving while intoxicated, he or she can ask you to submit to such tests.

You cannot be forced to take a breathalyzer test (unless the police officer has a warrant). In fact, if you’re reasonably certain that your BAC is above 0.08, refusing to submit to a breath test may be a good idea.

Consequences For Refusing To Comply

If you refuse to take a breath test, the police officer can confiscate your driver’s license. Moreover, your license may be suspended for up to 12 months if this is your first time refusing to submit to sobriety testing.

If you refused to submit to a breath test in the past, your license can be suspended for up to 18 months. Additionally, you can be charged with a crime for the refusal.

It’s also worth noting that you can be taken into custody, and prosecutors may use your refusal to argue knowledge of guilt.

How To Fight DWI Charges In Florida

Suppose you refused to submit to a breathalyzer test and were subsequently charged with a DWI. Should you fight the charges?


An experienced Florida DUI lawyer can design creative defenses aimed at getting the charges dismissed. These defenses may include questioning whether the officer followed proper procedure and whether he or she had probable cause to suspect you were driving while intoxicated in the first place.

Skubiak & Rivas’s Florida traffic ticket attorneys have more than 60 years of combined experience successfully defending clients. Let us help you to avoid a DWI conviction, keep your record clean, and retain your driving privilege. If you were recently charged with a DWI, call 407-894-4449 or fill out this short form for a free, private consultation.