DUI Defense Law Firm Fairfax VA
When a driver in Virginia is arrested for drunk driving and they refuse to submit to a breath or other chemical test, they will automatically lose their license under the state’s implied consent law. This is true whether or not they are eventually convicted for driving under the influence. If you have been charged with a DUI, you need a skilled and aggressive DUI defense attorney Fairfax VA clients recommend advocating for your rights.
Implied Consent Law
Virginia law says that any driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is over the legal limit and is considered driving under the influence. Determining a driver’s BAC can be done through breathalyzers, blood tests, and urine tests.
Under the Code of Virginia § 18.2-268.2., any driver who operates a vehicle on Virginia roads consents to have samples of their blood and/or breath taken for chemical testing to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of their blood if they are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. This testing must be completed within three hours of being stopped by police. The law not only applies to drivers licensed in Virginia but also applies to out-of-state drivers, as well.
If a driver is arrested and refuses to submit to testing, they will automatically have their license suspended. The length of that suspension depends on if and how many prior offenses the driver has. A first-time offense will result in a license suspension of one year. Instead of a criminal offense, this offense is considered a traffic violation. Second and subsequent offenses that occur during a 10-year window will lose their license for three years. These offenses are classified as criminal offenses. In some cases, there can even be jail time ordered. A DUI lawyer Fairfax VA residents trust can evaluate your case to determine what type of penalties you may be facing.
If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, it is important to keep in mind that these mandatory tests only apply if you are arrested. If an officer pulls you over and asks you to take a preliminary breath test, you do have the right to decline if you have not been placed under arrest. Implied consent laws only apply to drivers who have already been charged.
Other tests an officer may request of a driver suspected of being under the influence are field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand and walk-and-turn tests. These tests are considered extremely unreliable by defense attorneys because the results of these tests are based almost entirely on the police officer’s judgment. It is advised that a driver refuse all requests for field sobriety tests. There is no penalty for refusing and it avoids providing a prosecutor with potential evidence against you.
If you have been charged with drunk driving, contact a DUI defense attorney Fairfax VA from May Law, LLP to find out how we can help.