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Breath Test Refusal Lawyers in Brevard County, Florida

A DUI arrest is more than just a legal tangle — it's an event that can send ripples across every aspect of your life, from your professional reputation to your personal relationships. At Gutin & Wolverton, we understand the stress and fear that come with a DUI arrest. Knowledge is your greatest ally in the legal arena, and here, we strive to arm you with the information you need to navigate the complexities of breath test refusals with confidence. 

Administration of Breath Tests

Breath tests are designed to measure the level of alcohol in your bloodstream, also known as blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Law enforcement officers use these portable devices — breathalyzers — at traffic stops to determine if a driver is impaired, and the limits vary depending on the drivers' age and vehicle type. Understanding these limits is crucial for maintaining safe and lawful driving practices:  

  • In all 50 U.S. states, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers over the age of 21 is 0.08%.  

  • For commercial drivers, the legal BAC limit is 0.04%. 

  • Drivers under the age of 21, the so-called "zero tolerance" limit is commonly 0.02%, but this can vary among states.  

  • For repeat offenders, some states enforce a lower BAC limit, typically 0.01%. 

It's important to know that these tests are not infallible. They rely on sophisticated technology, but like all technology, they can be prone to errors. 

Moreover, the administration of these tests requires strict adherence to certain protocols. The officer administering the test must be properly trained and certified. The device itself must be calibrated correctly and maintained regularly to ensure accurate readings. Any deviation from these standards could impact the reliability of the results. 

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Can I Refuse a DUI Breath Test?

While you can refuse a DUI breath test, there will be consequences for doing so. Some of these penalties include license suspension and other charges. Florida operates under an implied consent law, which means that by obtaining a Florida driver's license, you've already given your tacit agreement to submit to these tests if asked by a law enforcement officer. While it can be tempting to refuse a breathalyzer test, it is in your best interest to comply and take it.  

Implied Consent Law 

The implied consent law in Florida dictates that any person who holds a driver's license has implicitly agreed to submit to chemical tests, such as a breathalyzer, if suspected of DUI. This means that refusing to take a breath test when pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence can lead to serious penalties. 

Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test 

Refusing a breathalyzer test in Florida can result in immediate penalties. For a first-time refusal, your driver's license can be suspended for one year. Subsequent refusals can result in an 18-month suspension and even criminal misdemeanor charges. It's important to remember that these penalties are separate from any additional consequences you might face if you're ultimately convicted of a DUI. 

What if the Equipment Was Faulty?

Faulty breathalyzer equipment or improper administration of the test can result in falsely high BAC readings. If we can demonstrate that the breathalyzer used in your case was not properly maintained or calibrated, or that the officer administering the test did not follow the appropriate procedures, we may be able to challenge the validity of the results. 

Some of the potential reasons for faulty breathalyzer equipment include: 

  • Improper Calibration: Breathalyzers need to be calibrated regularly to ensure their accuracy. If a device is not calibrated correctly, it can produce inaccurate results. 

  • Device Malfunction: Like any electronic device, breathalyzers can malfunction. This can be due to defects in the device itself, or due to wear and tear over time. 

  • Improper Use: If the officer administering the test does not use the device correctly, it can result in inaccurate readings. This could be due to lack of training or oversight. 

  • Environmental Factors: Certain environmental factors can also affect the readings. For instance, high altitude or certain weather conditions can cause the device to produce false readings. 

  • Contaminants: The presence of certain substances in the mouth or air can also affect the readings. This includes substances like tobacco smoke, vomit, or even mouthwash. 

  • Software Errors: Breathalyzer devices run on software, and any glitches or errors in the software can lead to incorrect results. 

The accuracy and reliability of breathalyzer tests in DUI cases hinge on several factors. Therefore, if you have been arrested for DUI and have doubts about the breath test results, it's crucial to seek legal advice. Experienced DUI defense attorneys can thoroughly examine the circumstances of your test and potentially challenge the validity of the results, protecting your rights and fighting for a fair legal process. 

Your Next Steps After a DUI

If you've been arrested or charged with a DUI, it's important to take immediate action to protect your rights and interests. Here are some crucial steps you should take: 

  1. Stay Silent: Exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation present. Anything you say can be used against you in court. When pulled over, you only need to present your license and registration. Beyond that, don't share anything with the cop until you talk to an attorney.  

  1. Hire a DUI Attorney: It's crucial to consult with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. They can guide you through the legal processes and defend your rights. 

  1. Document Everything: Make detailed notes about your arrest. Include everything you remember about the traffic stop, any field sobriety tests, and your interaction with the police officer. 

  1. Gather Witnesses: If there were any witnesses to your arrest, gather their contact information. Their accounts can be invaluable to your case. 

  1. Request a DMV Hearing: In Florida, you only have 10 days after your arrest to request a DMV hearing. This hearing can prevent the automatic suspension of your driver's license. 

  1. Cooperate with Your Attorney: Provide your attorney with all the necessary information and cooperate fully with them. They will be your best advocate throughout the legal proceedings.  

Remember, a DUI arrest isn't a conviction. With the right legal assistance and proactive steps, you can navigate this challenging situation and work towards a favorable outcome. 

Breath Test Refusal Defense Attorneys in Brevard County, Florida

Facing a DUI charge can be overwhelming, but you don't have to go through it alone. With Gutin & Wolverton by your side, you'll have a team of experienced and aggressive trial lawyers fighting for you. We understand the intricacies of DUI law, including the administration of breath tests and the implications of refusing such a test. If you are in Cocoa, Florida, or the surrounding areas in Brevard County — including Titusville, Melbourne, and Palm Bay — don't hesitate to reach out to us; we're available for you.