TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A state representative from Tampa has proposed legislation that would levy harsher penalties on drivers who refuse breathalyzer tests.
Under the current law, people who refuse to take a breathalyzer test could have their license suspended from as long as a year to 18 months, depending on if they have previously had their license suspended.
Koster’s bill includes harsher penalties for drivers who refuse to take a “lawful” breath-alcohol test. In addition to the 1-year suspension, a first-time offender would have to install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle that is used “routinely” by the driver, even if it’s jointly-owned or leased—and it would be at their expense.
Drivers must blow into the small handheld device and beat the breath test before the car will start. Subsequent refusals to take the breathalyzer test would lead to an extended period for using the device, going to 18 months from 12, also at the driver’s expense.
If the bill passes, the legislation would go into effect on July 1.