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The Wilson Law Firm

Virginia’s DUI / DWI Implied Consent Law And The 3 Hour Rule

Virginia's DUI / DWI Implied Consent law essentially states that by driving on the public roads in Virginia a person impliedly consents to provide breath and / or blood samples for analysis if the person is lawfully arrested for DUI / DWI within 3 hours of driving.  When the Virginia DUI / DWI Implied Consent law is triggered, the motorist must either submit to blood or breath testing or be charged with Unreasonable Refusal.  In addition, the DUI / DWI Implied Consent law in Virginia provides for admission of breath test certificates, allows for an inference of impairment, triggers mandatory punishments, etc.  In Virginia legal circles, the provision of Virginia's DUI / DWI Implied Consent law that requires the arrest occur within 3 hours of driving is often referred to as Virginia's 3 Hour Rule.  Many people get confused about the time frame to which Virginia's 3 Hour Rule applies.  Some believe the motorist must be tested within 3 hours of driving:  this is incorrect.  Some believe the motorist must be tested within 3 hours of being arrested:  this is also incorrect.  Although in order to attempt to relate the blood or breath analysis to the condition of the motorist at the time of driving it makes sense that there would be a time frame within which a motorist's blood and/or breath should be collected and/or tested, under Virginia DUI law there is no such time limit.  In Virginia, the 3 Hour Rule applies to the time between driving and arrest.  In order to trigger Virginia's DUI / DWI Implied Consent law, a motorist must be arrested within 3 hours of operating the vehicle, and as long as that happens, it doesn't matter when the motorist is finally tested.  Of course, in many Virginia DUI / DWI cases the 3 Hour Rule is easily satisfied because the motorist is arrested within 15 or 20 minutes or a routine traffic stop, but the 3 Hour Rule component of  Virginia's DUI / DWI Implied Consent law can be extremely important in accident cases and other cases in which the officer did not see the motorist operating the vehicle.       

 

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