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Refuse to take a breath test at your own risk

The Commonwealth of Virginia is very serious about reducing the number of drunk drivers on our roadways. Therefore, if a law enforcement officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she will ask you to take a breath test.

You may not want to take the breath test, and you may even have good reason not to, but you must understand that refusal comes with consequences.

Penalties to expect

In Virginia, you cannot request a blood test in place of a breath test for any alcohol-related offense. If your blood alcohol content level is found to be above 0.08 percent, the legal limit, and this arrest represents your first offense, your driver's license will be suspended for seven days. If you are refusing to submit to the breath test for a second time, your license will be suspended for 60 days or until you go to trial. If you receive a DUI conviction, you will have your license suspended as a criminal penalty in addition to the administrative suspension.

The penalties continue

If you receive a DUI conviction as a first offender, the court can order you to have an ignition interlock device installed on any vehicle you drive. The IID is a computer with a breathalyzer attached. You breathe into the mouthpiece, the computer records your BAC, and if it detects no alcohol in your system, the car will start. Even if the court refrains from ordering an IID, the DMV will require you to have the device installed.

Seeking advocacy

Perhaps you were on medication and knew that the alcohol it contained would show up in a breath test. On the other hand, perhaps you did not want to take the breath test because you had just enjoyed a couple of beers with friends. Whatever the circumstances, you need someone on your side who protect your rights, work to reduce the charges against you and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

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Boyce, Leahy & Francescon, Lawyers
9300 Grant Avenue, Suite 200
Manassas, VA 20110

Phone: 703-656-7349
Fax: 703-361-6666
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