Being pulled over for drunk driving is an intimidating and frightening experience, particularly if you are an underage driver. When you have done nothing wrong and are sure you have not had enough to drink to put your blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent – or 0.02 percent for underage drivers – you are probably wondering why you have been stopped and what you have to do.

There are numerous tests the police can ask you to undergo to determine if there is evidence of a DUI. One of the more common tests is a Breathalyzer or breath test. You can legally refuse some of these tests. Others you are required to take. If you were arrested for a DUI after submitting to breath test or Breathalyzer, contact the skilled Sarasota breath test defense lawyer Erika Valcarcel of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A.

DUI Breath Tests

Most officers will ask a driver they suspect of drunk driving to take a roadside breath test. Commonly known as a Breathalyzer, this will provide the officer with a BAC level.

Under Florida law, any person who has a valid license and drives in Florida impliedly consents to take an approved chemical test, such as a breath, blood, or urine test, to determine his or her alcohol content if that person is lawfully arrested for allegedly drunk or drugged driving. Implied consent for a breath test “must be incidental to a lawful arrest,” according to Florida Statute 316.1932.

As an adult, you can refuse a roadside, portable breath test, but you should not refuse a formal breath test request upon arrest. It can be hard to tell the difference, but you are allowed to ask the officer if you are under arrest. The refusal to submit to a breath test upon arrest can result in a civil penalty of having your driving privileges suspended for 1 year. While you can refuse, you have to think twice about the potential consequences. You might lose your drivers license even if you are not ultimately convicted of a DUI. Talk to an experienced Sarasota breath test defense lawyer today to learn what defenses may be available to you.

Roadside Field Sobriety Tests

If you are pulled over under the suspicion of driving after drinking or taking drugs, there are many ways an officer can find cause to arrest you for a DUI. The most common means of gathering evidence that a driver is inebriated is through field sobriety tests and breath tests. However, an officer can also deduce impairment through your behavior, slurred speech, answers to his or her questions, signs of alcohol or drugs in the vehicle, and odors.

Field sobriety tests are physical tests that an officer can ask you to perform outside of the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined three standardized field sobriety tests officers should use: the walk and turn, the one leg stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. The NHTSA specifies how these tests should be administered and graded. While there are these standardized tests, states have the ability to allow other tests including those that including reciting parts of the alphabet and counting.

You do not have to submit to field sobriety tests. In most cases, it is recommended that you do not submit to these tests because they usually only provide evidence against a person. You can politely decline to take these tests. The police may arrest you for a DUI still, but they will not have additional evidence to provide the prosecution.

Chemical Tests Upon Arrest

Once you have been arrested, the police can require you to submit to another breath test or a blood or urine test to more accurately determine your BAC or whether you have any controlled substances in your system. You can refuse, but Florida’s implied consent law means you will suffer an automatic license suspension for 1 year.

It may frustrate you, but it can be safer to submit to the breath, blood, or urine test than to refuse and suffer a license suspension. Even if you are initially found to have a BAC at or above the legal limit, you are not automatically guilty of a DUI. A skilled Sarasota DUI lawyer can investigate the test the police conducted to determine if they met the proper standards and were accurate. There are many ways to attack a BAC limit in court.

Your Legal Right to an Independent Chemical Test

Florida DUI laws allow a person to arrange and pay for their own independent chemical test. An individual can ask someone who is authorized to perform the task to test his or her breath, blood, or urine for alcohol content or controlled substances. The police are not allowed to interfere with this right and must give the person timely phone access to arrange the independent test.

You are not given this right if you refuse to submit to the police’s request for a breath, blood, or urine test. You do not get to choose the method of your testing. You should submit to the police chemical tests, but then you may also obtain your own.

This independent test does not affect the admissibility of the police officer’s test results. However, if a person is confident that they are not above the legal limit and do not have drugs in his or her system, then an independent test may provide more evidence of innocence.

Contact a Sarasota Breath Test Defense Lawyer from Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. for Help

If you were charged with a DUI, you should hire an experienced Sarasota breath test defense lawyer to represent you in court. Erika Valcarcel has worked in Florida for years, building relationships with prosecutors, judges, and clerks. She understands in-depth how the Sarasota court system works and will use this knowledge to aggressively fight for your rights. Call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 to schedule a free consultation.