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Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Virginia? Insight From Norton Pelt 

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges often come with a flurry of questions. Because of how many people consume alcohol recreationally, people generally offer a wide range of advice regarding your rights when you are pulled over. For instance, can you refuse a breathalyzer? At Norton Pelt, we understand the complexity and confusion that may surround these questions. When asked to take one, your decisions will influence the outcome of your case. We wanted to publish this blog to provide you with some clarity regarding getting pulled over, field sobriety tests, and whether or not you can refuse a breathalyzer. 

Understanding Virginia’s Stance on Breathalyzers

When you are pulled over in Virginia on suspicion of DUI, you must know your rights. We first need to point out that you may be asked to take a field sobriety test. Police officers will run you through a series of precise movements and are trained to look for specific actions. They are looking for probable cause to execute an arrest. However, field sobriety tests are optional, and you can decline to take one without consequences. During this time, it is important that even when you refuse, you must keep your composure and be respectful to the officer. When prompted, provide them with your driver’s license, registration, and insurance. Ask them if you are free to leave. Without probable cause, they cannot detain you. If you are arrested, immediately express your wish to speak to an attorney. 

While still on the side of the road, officers can also request that you take a Preliminary Breath Test (commonly called a PBT). You are not required to take the PBT and you can decline to take it without consequences. However, if you are arrested, you will be taken to a magistrate’s office or other facility and instructed to take a breathalyzer test. You cannot refuse that breathalyzer test in Virginia without consequences. Refusing it comes with a one-year suspension of your license. 

Other Considerations 

When you refuse, you will not stop the police from determining your BAC. They will get a search warrant from the magistrate to take and test your blood. Some people may erroneously point out that this is a delay tactic and could be worth the refusal. It isn’t. The police will contact the magistrate where they draw your blood, and this series of events will happen relatively quickly. 

Refusing a breathalyzer isn’t just about immediate civil repercussions. If you are charged with a DUI, the prosecution could argue that your refusal is an implicit admission of guilt. They may also emphasize your non-compliance. 

Act Now with Norton Pelt

Navigating a DUI charge can be overwhelming, and it can significantly impact your life and future. Each decision you make after you are charged can affect the outcome of your case. This is why having legal counsel is imperative. Norton Pelt has extensive experience with these cases, and we have a command of Virginia’s DUI laws. Our firm will be your best line of defense. We don’t just represent; we advocate for you and uphold your rights. Our attorneys will explore every possible legal avenue to support you. Contact Norton Pelt today to set up a consultation and get the legal support you deserve. 

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Norton Pelt, PLC

We work hard to ensure we provide the best legal experience possible and make it a priority to get to know each client so we can help you through virtually every type of legal event you may go through.

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