When people find out I used to be the DUI Unit prosecutor in Jacksonville and now specialize in DUI defense, they all usually ask me the same question. They ask, “If I get arrested for DUI should I blow or not?” This is a great question, and the answer is the same answer you will hear for most legal questions… It just depends. I’m sure you’ve seen advertisements on coffee mugs, the koozies passed out at your local bar, or on billboards that say "JUST DON’T BLOW!"
This advice is just downright dangerous, because in some cases it may get you charge with additional criminal charges. Depending on the circumstances my legal advice may be to refuse to give the government your breath sample, while in other cases it’s definitely in your best interest. So, let’s go over when it’s a good idea, and when it’s a really bad idea.
Your First DUI? Don’t blow if you think you will blow over legal limit, but there are some drawbacks.
If you have never been arrested for DUI before AND your driver’s license has never been suspended for refusing to provide a breath sample, then it is a good idea to refuse. In the State of Florida, the legal limit is a Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08. If you provide a breath sample that is over a 0.08 then you have really hurt yourself because in Florida the State only has to prove you were driving with a BAC over a 0.08, that’s it. They don’t have to prove you were impaired, in fact the evidence could even show you weren’t impaired, but in Florida the mere fact you were driving with a BAC over 0.08 constitutes a crime.
What’s the drawback? Refusing to provide a breath sample after being arrested for DUI results in a mandatory 12 month suspension of your driver’s license. If you provide a breath sample your license will only be suspended for 6 months. This suspension is an administrative suspension, meaning it is a civil suspension done by Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (commonly called the DMV). Even though there is a drawback by having your license suspended for a longer period of time, you are still better off in the long run. You are better off because the government will have less evidence in your case. You are better off because if you are found guilty of DUI you license will get suspended again, only this time it is a criminal suspension of your license and it ranges from 6-12 months. The criminal suspension begins the day you are sentenced in you criminal case which can overlap you administrative suspension or even begin after you have completed your administrative suspension.
You have been convicted of DUI before or your driver’s license was suspended for refusing to blow.
If you have been convicted of DUI before or had your license suspended for refusing to provide a breath sample, you may be better off providing a sample. Why? Because it is a crime in Florida to refuse to give a breath sample.
So, it is better to refuse if it’s your first DUI. But if you have been arrested for a first-time DUI and you provided a breath sample, CALL Monroe & King, P.A. The breath test machine is not perfect, there are many problems we might find with the sample itself, the way it was collected, or with the machine. Call Scott Monroe Law and we will fight to get the breath test thrown out!