Q: If I'm pulled over on suspicion of DUI in the state of Virginia, can I refuse to submit to a breath test?
A: The quick (and confusing) answer is yes, and no. Under Virginia's “implied consent” laws, anyone who drives on a public road or highway has already given his legal consent to be stopped and tested by the police for inebriation. Technically, though, you can still refuse to consent to a field sobriety test or a preliminary breath test; the trouble is that, under Virginia law, this will result in your license being automatically suspended for one year, and you may also wind up paying a significant fine and spending time in jail.
As a rule, most defense lawyers will advise you to submit to any tests requested by the police, since refusing to do so is (practically speaking) exactly the same as pleading guilty to the charge in the first place. Also, you should bear in mind that the results of breath tests are not written in stone; the equipment has to be properly calibrated, and officers have to be trained to administer the test and interpret the results. If police procedure is found wanting in any of these respects, a good defense lawyer may succeed in having the breathalyzer results thrown out before the case even goes to court!
An arrest for DUI in Virginia is no small thing. The attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC have decades of experience defending motorists. Call now for your free consultation!