Florida Drivers Refusing Breathalyzer Tests

florida driversNearly half of all Florida drivers stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and asked to submit to a breathalyzer test are refusing. Although it is clearly stated on every Florida Driver License that the driver must submit to a breath test when asked by police, Florida drivers have learned they can refuse, and they are doing so with impunity.

Unfortunately the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that police cannot force someone to submit to a breath test, nor can they force someone to submit to a blood draw in order to determine their sobriety level, unless there has been a serious traffic crash with injury or fatality. This means that Florida drivers who do not want to submit don’t have to and police can’t make them.

All of this has resulted in an increased number of drunk drivers on the road and little way for police to get them off the road unless they witness them doing something illegal.

Eyewitness News has learned that four out of 10 drivers stopped for DUI in Florida refuse breathalyzers. That is in spite of what is printed on Florida’s drivers licenses, “Operator of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law.”

Traditionally, the Fourth of July weekend is among the deadliest on Florida’s roads. If this year is like most, dozens of people will be killed by drivers who have been drinking.

“It is a very dangerous weekend to be on the road,” said Assistant State Attorney Michelle Perlman.

It is also very frustrating for law enforcement. The word is out in Florida that if you’re suspected of driving drunk you should not submit to a breath test.

“I think in county court, DUI is probably 40 percent of the docket,” said Perlman.

However, at least four out of 10 in Florida refuse a breath test, making prosecution more difficult.


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