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Breath Test

Florida law enforcement can arrest you for driving under the influence if your mental and physical faculties are impaired or if you have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. When measuring BAC, police officers have several options to choose from. The most common of these is using a breathalyzer or performing a breath test.

Submitting to a breathalyzer test has its pros and cons, but it’s important to understand that breath tests are not always accurate. Outside factors such as underlying conditions or diet could affect your results. If the equipment isn’t calibrated correctly and frequently enough, then the results could be inaccurate. For these reasons and more, many attorneys would recommend you refuse to blow if you are offered a breathalyzer test.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI, then it’s within your best interest to obtain legal representation as soon as possible.

DUI Defense Lawyer Explains Breathalyzers in Martin County, FL

Breath analysis can produce faulty and skewed results that could result in you receiving a DUI conviction. However, with experienced counsel like the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell they can utilize scientific evidence and other legal strategies to poke holes in the prosecution’s care. Let us guide you through this legal process. We have the right tools and resources needed to fight your DUI charges today.

Call us at (772) 291-2534 to schedule your first consultation free. We will work tirelessly to get your charges reduced or dismissed entirely. Meltzer & Bell has clients throughout the greater Martin County and St. Lucie County area including Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie and Stuart.

Overview of Breath Tests in FL


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What Does a Breathalyzer Do and How Does it Work?

Intoxilyzers and breathalyzers are devices used to measure blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) in a breath sample. Under Florida law, if you have a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or over then law enforcement has reasonable grounds to arrest you for DUI. Out of all DUI chemical tests, police officers use breathalyzer testing the most frequently.

A breathalyzer is made up of two glass vials that contain a chemical reaction mixture and a system of photocells connected to a meet. If you blow into the instrument inebriated, the meter will change color from a reddish-orange to a mixture of green. Officers will compare the reacted mixture with a control unreacted group to determine your BAC.

An intoxilyzer is similar but uses IR lights to determine BAC. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy measures how molecules absorb IR light. Intoxilyzer tests can identify ethanol by reading a molecule’s wavelengths bonds react to IR light. The device uses an IR beam through a chamber that focuses on a spinning filter wheel. When the IR beam passes through the filter wheel it changes into an electrical pulse. After relaying the pulse through a microprocessor, the information is translated into a BAC reading.


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Are Breathalyzer Tests Accurate?

The prosecutors often heavily rely on breathalyzer results to convict a person of driving under the influence. However, breathalyzers and intoxilyzers don’t always guarantee accurate results. They can easily be influenced by outside factors such as rainy roads and even circumstantial personal factors such as being on a diet or diabetic. Listed below are some common issues that could occur during a breath test.

  • You’re on a diet;
  • Your metabolism is slow;
  • You’re a diabetic;
  • You took cold medicine or a prescription drug before driving;
  • You have acid reflux;
  • The instrument hasn’t been calibrated;
  • Officer read the results incorrectly;
  • The officer didn’t follow the proper protocol;
  • You were around lacquer, paint, cleaning solvents or other alcohols;
  • You have residual alcohol in your mouth;
  • Electromagnetic interference from other devices such as cellphone towers;
  • You belched, vomited or hiccuped before the test; or
  • The temperature of your breath

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What Happens if You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Florida?

One of the most common questions DUI attorneys face is whether it’s beneficial to refuse a breathalyzer test during a DUI stop. The right answer for you will probably depend on your circumstances. However, for most cases if you submit to a breathalyzer test the prosecution will have much more ammunition to convict you. That is because they will have scientific concrete evidence that shows your inebriation.

That doesn’t mean you can refuse a breathalyzer test and not face any consequences. In Florida, there is something known as implied consent laws. These laws state if you use a public road in the state of Florida then you are implicitly agreeing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. Violating these laws will result in an automatic administrative license suspension for up to one year. If this is your second refusal, the suspension will be 18 months.

It’s important to understand that an administrative license suspension is not a criminal consequence. It’s performed by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety (DHSMV) and you will receive notification of your suspension in the mail or on your ticket. Thankfully, you can contest your suspension within 10 days after you receive your suspension notice. During the hearing, you can bring legal representation to contest your suspension. They might be able to have your suspension reduced, terminated or help you receive a restricted license while you are finishing your suspension term

You must know that if you don’t comply with DUI testing, then the officer may arrest you as a result. To a police officer, refusing to submit to DUI testing may be a sign of guilt that you are intoxicated. If the officer has probable cause that you’re intoxicated, then they may arrest you on suspicion of DUI. You may be required to go through the booking process and be in jail for a short period. However, refusing testing will mean the prosecution won’t have scientific evidence of your intoxication. It will be much harder to convict you of DUI without that evidence and you may have your charges reduced or dismissed.


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Additional Resources

Suspension Laws – Visit the official website for the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to learn more about refusal suspensions. Access the site to learn more about hardship licenses, suspension laws, DUI penalties and consequences for repeat offenders.

Florida DUI Laws – Visit the official website for the Florida Statutes which is a collection of state laws and legislation for criminal and procedural laws. Access the site to find more information on DUI penalties, administrative penalties for DUI and more.


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Port St. Lucie Lawyer for DUI Breath Test in Florida

Have you been arrested because you submitted or refused a breathalyzer test? If so, it’s within your best interest to gain legal representation such as Meltzer & Bell. We have attorneys who have worked as prosecutors and who have practiced exclusively defense for years. That gives us a unique perspective and can give you an advantage in your defense.

Call us now at (772) 291-2534 to set up your first consultation free of charge. We will discuss your case and start building your defense plan now. Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the greater Martin County and St. Lucie County area.


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