Fort Lauderdale, FL- If you are pulled over because an officer suspects you have been drinking, they are going to put you through field sobriety tests and possibly a breathalyzer. Many Floridians wonder if it’s smarter to refuse a breathalyzer, so I’m they are not charged with a DUI. That why USAttorneys wanted to address the question: Is refusing a breathalyzer the best way to avoid a DUI charge in Fort Lauderdale?

Regrettably, there is no simple “Yes” and “No” answer to that question. One reason is that a refusal has a set of separate consequences. Like all other states, Florida has an implied consent law which requires all motorists, by obtaining their driver’s license, to submit to sobriety tests whenever asked to do so by an officer.

If a police officer asks you to participate in a field sobriety test, breathalyzer or chemical test, you can be charged with a refusal and will automatically lose your license for one year. You can also be sentenced to jail, especially if you have prior refusal charges. For your second or third refusal charge, you will lose your license for 18 months. You can still be accused of a DUI even if you refused a sobriety test which means you could be facing a DUI conviction. Furthermore, prosecutors can claim that your refusal is proof that you knew were legally drunk.

In contrast, the penalties for a DUI include a possible jail sentence of 6 months to 9 months, license suspension for 180 days to a year and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. According to WalletHub, Florida ranks 14th on the list of states with the strictest DUI penalties.

The consequences for a refusal aren’t as severe as a DUI, but you can challenge and DUI, and with the right defense attorney you can beat a DUI conviction. The penalties for a refusing a breathalyzer are automatic whereas you have to be convicted of a DUI to face the consequences.

There are situations in which refusing a breathalyzer is in your best interest. For example, if your blood alcohol concentration is high, you may be better off with a refusal charge. Prosecutors and judges often give tougher sentences to drunken drivers with high blood alcohol concentrations.

Deciding whether submit to a breathalyzer or chemical test is a decision you’ll have to make on the fly. It may be better to refuse and deal with the fallout of that, but only you will know at that moment what is the best decision. No matter what you do, you need to contact a DUI lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.

USAttorneys recommends you contact the Law Offices of Michael Leader in Fort Lauderdale and set up a consultation. The DUI defense lawyers at Leader & Leader understand the impact a DUI will have on all aspects of your life which are why they will devote their skills and expertise to your case. Reach one of their experienced lawyers by calling 954.523.2020 or visiting their website at  https://leader-law.com.