What you should know before consenting to a breath-alcohol test in Sarasota, Florida.

First and foremost, you should never get behind the wheel of an automobile while under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance. With services like Uber and Lyft, there is no reason to risk your safety and the safety of others. That said, many drivers, after having a glass or two of wine or a cocktail with dinner, may not believe that they are at all impaired and will assume they are fine to drive.

You’re driving home after a dinner with friends. You’re approaching a stale green light, then it changes to yellow, you accelerate to make it – not wanting to be stuck at a traffic light. Though you punched it, you still entered the intersection on red. You see the red and blue lights. You feel fine, but you know that cocktail with dinner is still lingering on your breath.

In Florida, driving under the influence is governed by Fla. Stat. 316.193. In a future post, we’ll discuss Florida courts interpretation of the “driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle” element of the statute – it may not be exactly what you think. For now, let’s discuss the decision to consent to a breath-alcohol test.

Here are some factors to consider if ever in a situation where you are asked to consent to a breathalyzer test in Florida.


If you are a smoker, it is probably best you do not consent to a breath-alcohol test. There are more traces of acetaldehyde found in the lungs of smokers. Acetaldehyde is also produced by the liver after consuming alcohol. The facts seem to suggest that smokers are likely to yield a result that will presume intoxication.


Here we’re mostly referring to type-1 diabetics; however, it could be applicable to a type-2 diabetic. Ketoacidosis is when a diabetic’s blood sugar is not maintained at a safe level and the liver continues to produce ketones, an alternative fuel produced in the liver. Many, if not most, breath-alcohol devices can not differentiate ketones, or more specifically, the acetone, from alcohol. Type-2 diabetics are at a lesser risk of ketoacidosis, but it is possible. Additionally, hypoglycemia, or “low blood sugar”, can mimic the appearance of intoxication. Diabetics would be advised to not consent to a breath-alcohol test.


If you’re on a diet, it may be best to avoid consenting to a breathalyzer test. If you are on a diet plan that focuses on minimizing or eliminating carbohydrates, your liver is likely to produce that alternative fuel, known as ketones. As discussed above, ketones can yield a result that will presume intoxication. 


If you have had even just one drink, then burp, believe it or not, the traces of the alcohol will remain in your throat for about twenty minutes. Obviously, this could potentially impact the result of the breathalyzer test.

You must keep in mind that you ultimately must weigh the respective balance of consenting to a breathalyzer test or not. If you refuse to blow, you will lose your driver’s license for 12-months on a first offense DUI, and 18-months on a second or third DUI offense. That’s an administrative suspension by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, not the court. Though consenting to a breath-alcohol test may limit your defenses to the criminal charge, which will involve fines and other consequences.

If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Sarasota County, it is best to speak to a DUI attorney in Sarasota County who can properly advise you of your options.

Again, you should never get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance. There are Uber gift cards available in many stores in Sarasota County and they make great gifts.