When you’re getting ready for a night on the town in Florida, you probably spend time deciding what to wear and going through a personal hygiene routine that helps you look your best for that special someone. You may even be one of many who give themselves a little “fresh breath” test by puffing quickly into your hand and “checking” the results. A mint, piece of chewing gum or swish of mouthwash may do the trick if a bit of extra help is needed.
Getting pulled over by police and asked to take a Breathalyzer test, however, is undoubtedly one of the last things on your mind as you anticipate a lovely evening, and you’d likely not assume the mouthwash you used earlier would lead to trouble with the law. Images of yourself being led away in handcuffs and charged with drunk driving may be even further from your thoughts. If you plan on imbibing an alcoholic beverage, you may want to brush up on current DUI regulations in this state.
Obtaining a driver’s license means you agree to certain things
When you received a valid driver’s license, you automatically agreed to certain things, such as implied consent. If you’re traveling a Florida roadway, this includes an agreement to submit to certain tests when requested to do so by a police officer. The following facts apply in most cases:
- A police officer must have probable cause to suspect you of intoxicated driving before asking you to take a breath test.
- You are within your constitutional rights to refuse such requests. You may also request legal representation.
- If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer or other chemical test, implied consent laws automate a process that includes penalties for your refusal.
- Florida law carries a one year automatic driver’s license suspension for a first offense refusal.
- If it is your third offense, and you refuse to take a breath test, you risk spending time in jail as well.
Prosecutors often use breath test results to their advantage when seeking convictions against motorists charged with drunk driving. This may be why approximately 20 percent of those detained for possible intoxication refuse to submit to such tests. You may also want to remember that certain products (such as the mouthwash you used earlier in the evening) can register false positive results for alcohol in your bloodstream.
Therefore, even though you may only have had one drink containing alcohol at dinner, the ingredients in your mouthwash (or other products like some cough syrups) may produce results that show incorrect BAC amounts. If this situation sounds familiar, or you have other concerns regarding drunk driving charges and breath tests, you can request a meeting with a criminal defense attorney who has successfully addressed such matters for others in the past.