What happens if you refuse breath or blood testing in Virginia?

In Virginia, much like other states, all motorists suspected of either driving drunk or drugged are required to submit to have either breath or blood alcohol testing performed on them if asked. Under Virginia state law though, a motorist is only required to submit to such chemical testing within the first three hours of their arrest of driving under the influence (DUI).

Under Virginia law, ยง 18.2-268.3, an officer is first required to have a defendant complete a breathalyzer test. It's only if that individual is unable to be breath tested -- or if that option is unavailable for some reason -- that they're lawfully able to have the individual's blood taken instead.

Any individual that makes what an officer deems to be an unreasonable refusal of either breath or blood testing risks being charged with an additional civil offense. The first violation carries with it a revocation of your Virginia driver's license for a year. This penalty would be added to the statutory suspension period assessed for all DUI convictions.

If you're stopped on suspicion of DUI within 10 years of a similar incident in the state and yet again refuse to submit to breath testing, then you may be charged with a first class misdemeanor. This crime carries with it a fine of up to $2,500 and as many as 12 months of jail time. It also carries with it an automatic suspension of your license for three years as does any refusal of blood testing for a second time within that same time span.

A conviction for an alcohol-related offense such as having refused to submit to chemical testing can greatly impact your ability to procure a job and maintain the lifestyle you've become accustomed to living. A Christianburg, Virginia, DUI defense attorney can advise you of your rights in your case.

Source: Commonwealth of Virginia, "Declaration and acknowledgement of refusal: Blood/breath test," accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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