Breath Test Refusal in a DWI case

| Dec 2, 2010 | DWI |

In the context of a DWI request to submit to a breath test, an accused’s refusal to submit to such a test cannot automatically be equated with an inference of a guilty mind.  From an objective viewpoint, an unexplained refusal is “insolubly ambiguous” and constitutionally cannot give rise to an inference of guilt.  A refusal to submit to the taking of a breath sample “in the face of accusation is an enigma and should not be determinative of one’s mental condition just as it is not determinative of one’s guilt” according to the Florida Supreme Court.

An accused’s right to due process and a fair trial, as well as fundamental notions of fairness and our rules of evidence dictate that the risk of prejudice, confusion and of misleading a jury constitutionally outweigh any probative value of admitting into evidence an unexplained chemical test refusal without first establishing a proper relevance foundation.