Surprisingly, under Florida Law, you can only be given a breath test incident to a lawful arrest where the officer has reasonable cause to believe you were operating or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, an arresting officer has to base his decision to arrest on his observations, including field sobriety exercises.
Keep in mind there is no requirement in the State of Florida that you participate in Field Sobriety Exercises. If you perform poorly on the exercises, your performance will be used against you as evidence of your impairment. Your performance can also be effected by things other than alcohol, such as physical disabilities or prior injuries. If you chose to do the exercises, make sure you tell the officer about any physical limitations or prior injuries you may have. He will ask! If you chose to refuse the exercises, keep in mind that your refusal can be used against you in court.
Are you legally required to take a breath test?
Yes. Under Florida Law, every person who operates a motor vehicle in the State of Florida has impliedly consented to a breath test.
Can you refuse to blow? Yes, you have the ability, but not the right to refuse.
What does this mean? Well, as you just learned, every person who operates a motor vehicle in the State of Florida has impliedly consented to a breath test; however, you can never be physically forced to blow. So, you can refuse, but there are penalties associated with refusing a breath test. For a first refusal, your driver's license can be suspended for one (1) year. For a second or subsequent refusal, your driver's license can be suspended for eighteen (18) months and you will be committing a misdemeanor of the 1st degree. Nonetheless, in many DUI prosecutions, a breath test is usually a prosecutor's best evidence against you.
If I blow under the legal limit, will I immediately be released from jail?
No! A person who is arrested for DUI is required by Florida Law to be held for a minimum period of 8 hours. For more things you should know about DUI, click here