If the police stop you for a suspected DUI in Virginia, they will almost certainly ask you to take a breathalyzer test to measure the blood alcohol content on your breath. If you are arrested, they would ask you to take another breathalyzer test or blood test at the police station. If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test once you have been charged with DUI, you could face harsh consequences in addition to the punishments that would be imposed if you are found guilty of DUI.
Are You Required to Take the Initial Breathalyzer Test in Virginia?
The police would use a small handheld breathalyzer device to administer a breathalyzer test after you are pulled over for DUI. This is known as a preliminary breath test (PBT). The police would use the test results to establish probable cause to arrest you.
In Virginia, you are not required to take a PBT, and your refusal to take the test cannot be used to convict you of DUI. However, if you refuse the test, the police officer would look for other signs of intoxication that they could use to arrest you.
Can You Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test if You Are Arrested for DUI?
The police would use a breathalyzer or take a blood sample when they book you for DUI. Under Virginia Code §18.2-268.2, our state’s Implied Consent Law, you impliedly consent to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test if you are driving a vehicle and are charged with DUI. When you are arrested, the police officer must inform you of this requirement and the penalty you face if you refuse to take the test.
What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?
The first violation of Virginia’s Implied Consent Law is a civil infraction. A second or subsequent offense would be a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. You could face these penalties:
- First offense. Your driver’s license would automatically be suspended for one year in addition to any driver’s license suspension for your DUI offense. You would not be able to get a restricted license during the one-year suspension.
- Second or subsequent offense. You could face up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500. In addition, your driver’s license would be suspended for three years.
Have you been charged with DUI or a violation of Virginia’s Implied Consent Law in Norfolk or Virginia Beach? Our experienced traffic ticket lawyers are here to mount an aggressive defense strategy to fight the charges you face. To learn more about how we can assist you, fill out our online form or call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 to schedule a free consultation today.