Q: If I'm pulled over on suspicion of DUI, why can't I just refuse to get out of my car until my lawyer arrives?

A: It's an interesting strategy, but no dice. There are two ways to answer this question: First, the reason the police won't sit around until your lawyer arrives is that they need to immediately administer a series of tests (a field sobriety test, a “breathalyzer” test, and, if the results point to intoxication, a blood-alcohol test at police headquarters). If the police were compelled to wait until your attorney showed up, you might conceivably sober up in the interim, and there'd be no evidence with which to press a Virginia DUI charge. Clearly, this type of loophole would not work to the public benefit!

Second, and more to the point, in the state of Virginia, police have the absolute right to ask you to step out of your vehicle and answer a series of questions, if they suspect that you have been driving drunk. (In fact, they have the absolute right to ask anyone to step out of a vehicle, no matter what the situation.) If you refuse to answer these questions, or to submit to a field sobriety test (which involves walking a straight line, counting backward from 100, etc.), the officer can arrest you right then and there for DUI—and if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test (or to the more accurate blood-alcohol test at police headquarters), that same officer can revoke your license.

The basic message here is that there's very little leeway for individual constitutional rights during a DUI arrest in Virginia, though, of course, that doesn't give the police the right to get away with murder. Have questions? Call the experienced Virginia DUI defense attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC today at 888-783-9701 for a free consultation.