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Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Florida?

June 22, 2016

Most people charged with drunk driving did the same thing before they were arrested. They took a roadside breath test. Most assumed they had to.

In fact, not all breath tests are required. In Florida, you are not required to take a breath test unless you have been arrested and read the implied consent notice. Even then, you should get legal advice before you take the test.

Prior to making a DUI arrest, Florida police officers typically administer two tests:

  • A field sobriety test in which you are asked to perform certain actions, such as stand on one leg

  • A roadside breath test, which may be performed using a portable breathalyzer machine or a larger machine the officer carries in his or her trunk.

If you fail one or both tests, or if the officer has probable cause to think you are intoxicated, the officer may arrest you and read you Florida’s implied consent notice. At that time, you would be taken to a police station or hospital for a breath, blood or urine test. If you don’t take this test, you will face driver’s license suspension and other sanctions. You can still refuse to take the test, although police may require a blood test if you were involved in an accident resulting in injury.

You are not required to take any tests before you have been arrested and read the implied consent notice. If you take a roadside test, you are simply giving the police officer evidence that can be used against you.

Just because you failed a roadside breath test does not mean you are guilty of drunk driving. The machine may not be calibrated correctly, or the police officer may be administering the test may have done so improperly.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Florida, seek prompt legal advice from a lawyer who regularly defends DUI cases.