Taking the Breath Test: You’re On Your Own!

If you’re arrested for DUI, you’ll be asked to take a breath test.  You may not realize it, but when you get a driver license, you agree in advance to take the test (check the small print on your license). If you refuse, the Department of Motor Vehicles  (http://bit.ly/o4dFs )will suspend your license for a year. If you’ve refused before, the suspension will be 18 months, and you’ll be charged with a crime for the refusal (a first-degree misdemeanor).

The officer who administers the test is supposed to tell you what will happen if you refuse. But you don’t have the right to talk to a lawyer before you decide whether to take the test. Now, a Florida appellate court has specifically ruled that the officer does NOT have to tell you that you don’t have the right to talk to a lawyer before deciding. The officer only has to explain the direct consequences of a refusal.

The process might seem backward, but it’s the law in Florida. First you get arrested, then you decide whether to take the breath test, then you talk to a lawyer.

Don’t skip the third step. Exercise your right to talk to a lawyer before deciding how to plead to a DUI charge!

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