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When a driver in Virginia is pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, the investigating officer may request a breath or blood test. Drivers might be under the impression they have a legal right to refuse the test. This is not the case. Whether or not they were driving under the influence, they will still face charges for breath test refusal.

A person arrested for DUI or driving after revocation is not legally allowed to refuse to give blood or breath samples when requested by a law enforcement officer. The officer will inform the person that anyone operating a motor vehicle in the state has automatically agreed to provide blood or breath samples to determine if there is alcohol or drugs in the system and how much. A test refusal will result in license suspension.

There are also criminal ramifications for test refusal. If it occurs within ten years of a previous conviction for DUI or if it is an unreasonable refusal, it will be a Class 2 misdemeanor. If it occurs within ten years of two previous convictions for DUI or is an unreasonable refusal, it will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. Violating this law for the first time will lead to a one-year suspension of driving privileges. If the person is found guilty of a Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanor, there will be a three-year suspension.

A test refusal combined with a DUI arrest means the driver must defend against multiple charges. Those who are arrested on DUI/DWI charges of any kind can protect themselves with help from an experienced attorney.

Source: law.lis.virginia.gov, "18.2-268.3. Refusal of tests; penalties; procedures.," accessed on Aug. 22, 2016

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