One of the first questions we get when we talk to a prospective client who has been charged with DUI is, “Could I have refused the breath test?” The simple answer is, “Yes.” The more complicated answer follows.

When you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence, there are two standard tests that police will ask you to perform. One is the field sobriety test (physical coordination) and the other is a chemical test (blood, breath or urine). You are within your legal right to refuse to take the field tests as they are considered voluntary, however, current Florida law requires that you take a chemical test if requested, if the officer has probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence. Refusing a chemical test could have consequences, including another criminal charge.

Implied Consent

When you sign your driver’s license, you are giving implied consent. In other words, you are stating that if you are pulled over and suspected of DUI, you will perform the chemical tests that are asked of you. It does not mean, however, that you cannot refuse to do so. What it does mean is that if you change your mind and refuse, you can be charged with an additional crime.


If you choose to refuse to take the test, you may face more severe penalties than if you had agreed to take the test. The penalties you can reasonably expect to face include a license suspension, fine, jail time and the required use of an interlock ignition device. The prosecution will attempt to use your refusal as evidence that you “must have” been intoxicated. Why would you have refused otherwise?

In Florida, you face a one year license suspension for your first refusal. A second or third refusal will have your license suspended for 18 months. Of course, an experienced attorney may be able to fight these penalties for you depending on the unique circumstances surrounding your arrest.

If you have been charged with DUI in Orlando, call our team of experienced attorneys. We will review the details of your stop and arrest and advise you of the options available to you. Your first consultation with our office is free. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm and how we can assist you.

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