DUI - General Information on Implied Consent

The operator of a motor vehicle, commercial truck or motorcycle, who drives upon the highways of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and find themselves arrested on the allegation of driving under the influence, within three hours of the time of their alleged offending behavior, is subject to the codified legal theory of "implied consent." This lawful arm-twisting is the product of ever stronger regulations and punishment for those who would elect to test their fate by drinking and driving.

In 1995, the Virginia legislature saw fit to put into writing its method for achieving more driving under the influence convictions by unforced, yet strongly encouraged consent to submit to alcohol concentration tests. The law of implied consent requires drivers, who otherwise filled the criteria provided above, upon an articulable suspicion of drink and driving, to submit "to have samples of his blood, breath, or both blood and breath taken for a chemical test to determine the alcohol, drug, or both alcohol and drug content of his blood." (Section 18.2-268.2 of the code of Virginia)

More plainly, this is the promise you make to cooperate with the law enforcement officer, who is determined that you are under the influence and placed you under arrest on suspicion criminal activity. You will already have been pulled over, asked how much you had to drink, pulled out of your car on the side of the road, given those sometimes unusual field sobriety tests, and, maybe, a preliminary breath test. Based on those observations, as well as whatever circumstances that led the officer to pull you over in the first place, you will be evaluated and, if deemed to be intoxicated, arrested, depending on those results.

Once you are placed under arrest, the rule of implied consent kicks in. It says, you have taken advantage of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the roads of Virginia; and, in doing so, you have agreed to protect yourself and her citizens from your dangerous behavior.  You have agreed not to commit criminal violations in the operation of a motor vehicle in Virginia, which are due to intoxication. Therefore, if an officer believes you are driving under the influence, and all the factors are in place, you must cooperate and submit to a blood and\or breath test, to determine your BAC. Failure to perform adequately in compliance with your obligation under the implied consent law will result in a new charge being brought against you called "Refusal," with a punishment including a 12 month loss of use of an operator's license in the Commonwealth of Virginia, without the opportunity to have a restricted license.

If you've been charged with driving under the influence and have any questions about your arrest or a question specifically about implied consent and its impact on your case, I strongly suggest you contact the good local attorney from the jurisdiction in which you were charged. A good local attorney will have knowledge of the court and relationships with the people prosecuting you to best advise you to best represent you through this minefield called criminal procedure and help lead you to a successful result.