DUI Breath Test vs. Refusal
Whether or not you should blow into the machine is a difficult question to answer. There are certainly pros and cons to doing so. If you refuse, that is less evidence, but you subject yourself to a longer license suspension. (1 year vs. 6 months). Some people wrongly assume that if you refuse, then they have “no evidence” which is not true. The prosecution can use the fact that you refused as evidence of guilt and tell a jury that the reason for the refusal is that you were intoxicated. On the other hand, by blowing into the machine it certainly does give them evidence. This evidence comes from the machine the police use: the Intoxilyzer 8000. However, what the prosecution may view as their strength can be the state’s weakness. The Intoxilyzer 8000 has been known to be unreliable and our office has challenged these machines. The FDLE, the agency that approves these machines, has even been known to not adhering to their own rules and not properly calibrating the machine or using improperly certified breath test operators, thus disallowing admission of any breath test. This unreliability, in itself, is also a reason one may choose to refuse. On the other hand, refusing means you can’t challenge the machine. Several judges not only in Florida, but in other states as well, have questioned their reliability and the maker of the Intoxilyzer 8000, CMI, Inc., from Owensboro Kentucky has defied Florida court orders to turn over software information as it relates to this machine. The National Motorists Association has received scientific studies that show how the breath testing machines can read an unreliability of up to .05. For example, if your breath test reading comes back as a .12, then your ACTUAL blood alcohol level could be as low as .07 or as high as .17. Not only does the problem in the machine itself show an unreasonable margin of error that affects accused drunk drivers by over-reporting the BAC results, but it should also trouble the State when it prosecutes people that may have deserved a harsher punishment due to underreporting the test results. So having one or two drinks could unreasonably skew your test results higher than it should be, and having a good, knowledgeable attorney is crucial to protecting your rights.
As you can see by this very short explanation to this often asked question, the answer is a difficult one, and it is also one that fits different people for different situations. Regardless of which avenue you choose, always invoke your right to an attorney, and your right to remain silent. Contact us as early as possible after a DUI arrest so that we can discuss the best way to fight your DUI, whether you chose to refuse the breath test or whether you chose to blow into the machine.