1) It’s the law!
When a person receives his or her drivers license in the State of Florida, he or she automatically consents to submit to a breath test, if requested by a Police Officer. Therefore, no lawyer or person can advise you to break the law, and submitting to a breath test is part of your privilege to hold a drivers license. If you do not submit to the breath test, you can be subject to additional criminal charges, and your license will automatically be suspended. If you blow over the legal limit (.08), your license will also be suspended. If you blow under the legal limit, your license will not automatically be suspended, however the Police Ofificer will likely ask you for a urine sample. If you submit to the urine sample, your license will not be suspended, pending the results. If you refuse the urine sample, your license will be suspended.
2) License Suspension
A refusal results in an automatic one year license suspension, which can be appealed by your lawyer. A breath sample over the limit (.08) results in a 6 month license suspension, which can also be appealed by your lawyer. If your appeal does not win, a person who refuses will be subject to a 90 day, NO DRIVING AT ALL period. A person who blew over the limit will be subject to a similar 30 day period. So are the license penalties LESS for a person who blows? Yes, the license ramifications are LESS SEVERE for a breath case. However, the criminal case could be much more difficult to resolve with a high breath sample. New changes in the law in Miami Dade County could vitiate this advantage, however, as breath cases under a .15 have less serious consequences than a refusal case. For a person with no prior record whatsoever, blowing into the machine could actually create an advantage!
3) Is the breath higher or lower than .15?
The Miami-Dade Prosecutors Office has now developed a program to incentivize people to blow into the breath machine. The program is controversial, however, and is not for everyone. The program potentially rewards people who blow into the breath machine, and punishes those who refuse. However, if a person blows too high (over a .15), the advantage dissapears. Any person who is arrested for DUI can request an independent blood sample while at the Police Station, and the Officer must provide he or she with a phone book in order to facilitate such a request.
4) So what do I do?
Again, no attorney can advise you to break the law by refusing to blow into the machine. Infact, the Government has introduced new incentives whereas one can argue “blowing is better”. We urge people to drink responsibly and follow the law. Police Officers do make mistakes, and blowing under the legal limit (.08) or under .15 can have serious legal advantages for both your license and criminal case. There is never a clear cut answer, because every case is different. Always contact a lawyer who specializes in DUI.