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Can I refuse a breath test at a traffic stop in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2020 | Criminal defense |

After a night enjoying the company of friends in Virginia, you choose to drive home. You only had a couple of drinks, so feel confident in driving. However, you get pulled over for a traffic violation and start to wonder if you can refuse that breath test the officer wants you to take.

The DMV of Virginia states that you have already consented to take the breath test by simply getting behind the wheel. Failure to refuse could result in a one-year license suspension. Refusing a second time is a Class 1 misdemeanor resulting in a three-year license suspension.

The state considers a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher to be driving under the influence of alcohol. However, the officer may consider a lower BAC level if it affects your driving. Either of these conditions can result in a DUI arrest.

These laws apply to both motor vehicles and highway-traveling mopeds. If you were in a crash, a law enforcement officer may arrest you within three hours without a warrant if they have probable cause you were under the influence of alcohol. You may get out on bail unless you have had three or more DUI arrests in the current five-year period.

The state has a zero-tolerance policy for those under the legal age of 21. A first DUI offense results in an automatic license suspension lasting seven days, while second offenses can result in a 60-day suspension. The penalties of conviction start at a $250 fine and a one-year license revocation for first-time offenders.