DUI With A Refusal To Blow

Anytime you go out with friends or family, it is important to think about who is going to be drinking, and who will be driving. The difficult decision is what to do if you have only “had a couple.” Maybe you went out to dinner with a group of friends and had a couple glasses of wine. Or maybe you had a few beers at the beach or out on the boat. As you made the decision to get behind the wheel, you might have wondered if you were making a mistake. Maybe you felt completely sober and had no worries about getting your group home safely.

Then the unthinkable happened. You saw the blue lights of a Fort Walton Beach patrol car light up behind you. You knew that you had been drinking, but only a couple. You also knew that if you told the officer you had only had a couple drinks, he would laugh and tell you, “that’s what they all say.” You were probably afraid to answer truthfully, but you were likely even more afraid to lie to the officer.

What to do in this scenario is the most common question I get asked from clients.

If I am pulled over and the police smell alcohol on my breath and they want me to submit to a breath test, what should I do?

There is no right or wrong answer that works in 100’s of cases, so this page will discuss some of the benefits of refusing to blow as well as the downside of refusing.

Why you should not blow after a DUI arrest

There are a number of good reason to refuse the breath test, but here are a few of the reasons that could help resolve your DUI case in Fort Walton Beach more favorably:

  • The cops won’t even ask you to blow until after you have been arrested and taken to the police station. Some jurisdictions use a pre-arrest roadside breathalyzer but Fort Walton Beach doesn’t. This means that no matter what you blow, you will still be under arrest. Even if you blow a 0.00, you will still be spending the night in jail.
  • If you think there is even a small chance that you are legally intoxicated, why should you do the police’s job for them? You have a constitutional right not to incriminate yourself. Yes, you will lose your license, but winning your DUI case is more important in the long run, and refusing to blow will make that more likely. When we meet to talk about your DUI case, we will talk about ways we can lessen the suspension of your license.
  • The prosecutors in Fort Walton Beach hate to lose DUI cases and they know that a refusal makes their job of proving you are guilty of DUI much harder. Rather than risk losing the case at trial, they will often agree to reduce the DUI charge to a lesser offense of reckless driving.

Is there any good reason to blow after a DUI arrest?

For the most part, I recommend not blowing if you are stopped and arrested for DUI in Fort Walton Beach. However, there are two downsides to this advice that are worth considering:

  • The prosecutor will be able to tell the jury at your trial that you refused and they will be able to argue that the reason you refused was because you knew you were intoxicated. I am not too concerned about this for two reasons: 1) Most DUI cases in Fort Walton Beach do not go to trial, and 2) If the case does go to trial, we can argue to the jury that there are other reasons for your refusal.
  • You will face a significantly longer license suspension from the DHSMV for a refusal. Again, I still think a refusal is the better option. There are options to minimize the hardship of a license suspension.
  • If you have ever refused in the past, this current refusal could lead to a separate criminal charge of Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test.

The Bottom Line about Refusal to Blow

My opinion is based on over 13 years of defending DUI cases in Fort Walton Beach. If you have had anything at all to drink, I recommend that you refuse. If you have not been drinking at all, you should consider providing a breath test in order to save your driver’s license from a longer suspension. Also, if you haven’t been drinking and your BAC comes back as 0.00, usually the State will dismiss the DUI charge against you. Sadly, that is not always the case.

Call an Experienced DUI Refusal Attorney

If you were arrested for DUI with Refusal in Fort Walton Beach, you need help and you need answers. I’d be glad to meet with you to talk about your case. Just give Robert Dees a call at 850-439-0999.