If you are stopped for DUI and refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you will not automatically be found guilty of DUI in Virginia. However, the police could still arrest you for DUI when there is other evidence you were driving while intoxicated. In addition, you may face harsh penalties for not agreeing to take a breath or blood test.
Virginia’s Implied Consent Law
When you are pulled over for DUI, the officer would ask you to take a breathalyzer test, which is done by having you blow into a small hand-held device to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). You would also be asked to take another breathalyzer or blood test at the police station.
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-268.2, which is referred to as Virginia’s Implied Consent Law, you impliedly consent to take a breathalyzer or blood test or both after being arrested for DUI. It is important to keep in mind that this law applies after you are arrested. You are not required to agree to take this test when you are initially stopped for DUI and the officer is trying to determine if you were driving while intoxicated.
Penalties for Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test
A first violation of Virginia’s Implied Consent Law is a civil offense under Virginia Code § 18.2-268.3, but a subsequent refusal could result in additional criminal charges. You face these penalties if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test:
- First offense. Your driver’s license would be suspended for one year. This is in addition to any suspension of your license if you are convicted of DUI.
- Subsequent offense. If you violated Virginia’s implied consent law or were convicted of DUI within the last 10 years, you could be charged with a misdemeanor offense. You could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. In addition, your driver’s license would be suspended for three years.
Let Us Help Protect Your Rights
Have you been arrested for DUI in Virginia? Did you refuse to take a breathalyzer test? Our experienced DUI attorneys have decades of experiencing mounting strong defenses for our clients facing these charges. To learn how we can assist you, start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.