Lawmakers in the state of Florida are proposing a bill that would make refusing a breathalyzer test illegal. This law would make it so that anyone who is pulled over and asked to take a breathalyzer would be charged with a misdemeanor if they decline. Even those who have not had a drop of alcohol could be asked to take a breath test, and are subject to misdemeanor charges should they refuse law enforcement’s request.
What This Bill Means for Drivers
Some believe that this bill sets drivers up for punishment whether they are guilty of a DUI or not. Another argument is that police could use breath tests to exploit people who are not drunk driving, but simply rubbed the officer the wrong way.
Most people agree that drivers who are not drinking and driving have nothing to hide, so abiding by police officer’s requests should not be a problem. It’s expected that all drivers obey the law by not drinking and driving. This bill ensures that people are doing just that.
Statistics reported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving state that in 2015, more than 40,000 drunk drivers got behind the wheel of a car in Florida. Of those 40,000 over half were found guilty of DUI.
Senate Bill 1244 is simple, if you’re pulled over and refuse a breathalyzer, you’ll be stuck with an interlock device, which requires you to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before the vehicle will start. A Central Florida senator hopes that the proposed law, should it pass, would remind people to think twice before drinking more than the legal limit, or driving drunk.
If the law passes and you’re found guilty of refusing the breathalyzer test, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, but you will not automatically be found guilty of driving under the influence.
Defense attorneys have expressed grave concern in the proposed bill, stating that they advise their clients to decline questions along with performing field sobriety, and breathalyzer tests because it could help the state collect evidence against the suspected driver.
Many drivers believe it is a fair solution to a deadly problem. Those who have not been drinking simply should not, and likely will not have an issue with proving that to law enforcement.