No.  If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, you may choose not to take a breath or blood BAC (blood alcohol content) test.  However, a refusal to do so will have serious consequences due to Florida’s implied consent laws.

What is Implied Consent?

Florida’s implied consent law states that any person who accepts the privilege of operating a motor vehicle within the state is, by so operating such vehicle, deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test.  These tests include, but are not limited to, an infrared light test of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood or breath if the person is lawfully arrested for any offense allegedly committed while the person was driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages.

Additionally, Florida law stipulates that in DUI cases involving serious bodily injury or death, an officer may use reasonable force if necessary to require the driver to submit to the administration of a blood test.  Even if you refuse, reasonable force may be used to draw blood for a BAC test under these circumstances. 

What are the Penalties for Refusing to Take a Breath or Blood Test After Being Arrested for DUI?

If you are lawfully arrested for a DUI and refuse to submit to a BAC test, you will be subjected to mandatory license suspensions.   Additionally, you may be charged with a criminal misdemeanor for subsequent refusals.  The penalties for refusing to take a BAC test are in addition to the standard penalties for a DUI.  The penalties for refusal are as follows:

  • First Offense: License suspension for 1 year
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses: License suspension for 18 months and first degree misdemeanor charges

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Been Charged With Refusing to Submit to or Failure to Complete a Chemical Test?

DUI arrests are serious and can have severe consequences.  If you refused a chemical BAC test when arrested, you need to contact a DUI lawyer immediately.  Your Florida attorney will be able to help you fight any charges and may be able to help you reduce your penalties.