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The basics of florida's breathalyzer laws

For many Floridians, driving home after having a drink could come with larger consequences than expected. While a drink or two may seem benign, driving afterwards and refusing a breathalyzer test is no light matter. However, every incident is deserving of fair consideration, and drivers who feel those rights have been violated may choose to take legal steps forward.

As the Sun Sentinel shared in 2015, concern over changing breathalyzer test laws are no new occurrence. While hardly any drinking and driving violation is a black and white situation, there is one aspect that is for certain: the strictness of penalties for refusing breathalyzer tests seem to be here to stay. At the time of the article, Sun Sentinel pointed out that Floridians suspected of drinking and driving but refuse these tests face a one-year license suspension. The bill on breathalyzer penalties, which failed to pass the next year, had sought to tighten those laws by adding up to a $1,000 fee, probation and the loss of points on a driver's license. 

ABC News takes a closer look in a piece from last year on refusing breathalyzer tests in the Sunshine State, citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's statistic that, statewide, Floridians had an 82 percent refusal rate. Driving under the influence offenses are especially common in the Tampa Bay area. The costs? ABC coincided with the Sentinel's report that drivers receive the mandatory one year license suspension upon refusal of the test; if drivers comply but still blow over the legal limit, they may only receive a six-month suspension. There are differing views on this tricky topic, but some experts argue that this refusal law infringes on drivers' rights, claiming they may request an independent blood test, instead.   




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