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First Contact with Police
Field Sobriety Exercises
After Arrest
Breath Test

What is a Breath Test?

After being arrested and taken to the jail, you will likely be asked to take a breath test. The breath test is an incredibly important part of a DUI case. Under Florida law, you can be convicted for DUI merely for giving a breath test that is over .08.

The 20 minute observation period

Under Florida law and regulations, an officer is required to "observe" you for a period of 20 minutes before administering the breath test. The officer is not required to necessarily stare at you for that time period, but is supposed to keep you in their general sight for that period of time. The officer does so to make sure that you do not eat, swallow, or otherwise put anything in your mouth that could affect the results of the test. Also, the officer is supposed to make sure that you do not regurgitate or vomit as regurgitation could potentially result in false breath test readings.

The Intoxilyzer 8000

After the observation period, the officer will then take you to another room where they keep the Intoxilyzer 8000, the instrument used in Florida to get an alcohol breath test reading. You will be asked to give two samples. In order to give a sample, you will blow into a tube which will then analyze your breath for the presence of alcohol. The results could be used against you if they are over .08--if the results are under .08, then it is possible that you may be able to get a reckless driving charge rather than a DUI.

What happens if I refuse the breath test?

While initially an officer will request you to take a breath test voluntarily, you may refuse to do so. If you refuse initially, the officer will read you what is called the "implied consent" form. Implied consent is a body of law that states that if you refuse to give a breath test, your driver's license will be suspended for one year. After this warning, you will be requested to take the test again. If you refuse again, the officer will note that you refused and your driver's license will become suspended. (If your license is suspended, you may be able to apply for, and receive, a business purpose only license.)

There are advantages and disadvantages to taking or refusing the breath test. If you take it and the results are below .08 you may not end up being charged with a DUI and your license may not be suspended. However, if you take the breath test and it is over .08, it may be very hard to beat the DUI charge. The advantages to refusing is that the state cannot use a breath test result against you and they must rely on how you performed on the field sobriety exercises and other observations made by the officer. On the downside, if you refuse your license will be suspended and the state can argue that you refused because you knew you were intoxicated (known as the "consciousness of guilt" argument).

What if I took the Intoxilyzer and blew over .08?

Florida law requires that police follow certain procedure before and during the breath test administration to ensure that the results are accurate. If the proper procedure is not followed, it may be possible to suppress the results of the test. And of course if the results are suppressed, then they cannot be used against you.

Should I hire a DUI attorney to guide me through this?

DUI's carry significant penalties

Whether you take the test or refuse, DUIs are complex and difficult charges. DUI's also carry very serious penalties that can affect you for the rest of your life. It is important that you are properly represented.

We will fight for you and communicate each step of the process to you

Our attorneys spend a tremendous amount of time to ensure that every potential issue in each of their DUI cases is explored. When we find an issue we will discuss it with you and allow you to make the decision on how you would like to proceed. We will work hard to ensure that you get the best possible resolution to your case. Whether that is reducing the punishment that the state offers or completely beating all charges, we will fight hard for you.

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Address: 2170 Main Street, Suite 103, Sarasota FL 34237