Many DUI cases rest on the results of the driver’s Breathalyzer test. If the Breathalyzer test determines that a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit of .08, the prosecution may have a much easier time proving that the driver is guilty of a DUI. Because of this, many drivers wonder whether they can simply refuse to take the test. The short answer to this is, yes, but there will be serious consequences.
Virginia’s implied consent law states that if your arresting officer has probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence, you consent to taking a test to determine your blood alcohol level. This typically means a Breathalyzer, but can also mean a blood test. If you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer, you have violated Virginia’s implied consent law. As a result of this violation, your license will be immediately suspended for one year, if this is your first refusal. If you refuse to submit to a test a second time within 10 years of the first refusal, your license will be suspended for three years. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $1,000 and face up to six months in jail. If it is your third or subsequent refusal in 10 years, you may face up to a year in jail, up to a $2,500 fine and a three-year license suspension.
Refusing to submit to a breath test does not guarantee that you will not be found guilty of a DUI. The prosecution is legally allowed to use your refusal against you by stating that you refused to submit to the test because you were under the influence. However, if your arrest was unlawful in any way or the officer did not have probable cause to arrest you for a DUI, you may still be able to defend against the charges.
Refusing a blood alcohol test after a DUI arrest comes with certain consequences. A criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about DUI law in Virginia may be able to assist you with your case.
Source: FindLaw, “Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?,” accessed on Jan. 1, 2018