If a police officer pulls you over, and has a reasonable suspicion that you might be intoxicated, they could ask you to undergo a blood alcohol test through the use of a breathalyzer. Regardless of whether you have actually been drinking or not, you now have a choice: do you agree to take the breathalyzer test or not? What are the consequences of refusing?
You have already consented to breathalyzers
What some people may not realize is that, in Virginia, if you’re on the road, you’ve already consented to undergo breathalyzer tests.
When you accepted your drivers’ license, it came with implied consent to accept a breathalyzer test if a police officer reasonably requests one from you.
You will get your license suspended for refusing
Virginia law is clear as to the penalties of refusing a breathalyzer. Virginia is stricter than many other states on this issue. The first time you refuse a breathalyzer, the court will immediately suspend you drivers’ license for one year.
If you refuse a breathalyzer test a second time within ten years, you’ll be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition, your drivers’ license will be suspended for three years.
An important thing to know is that the same law that covers breathalyzer tests also applies to blood tests. If the police reasonably request that a doctor draw your blood to have it tested for alcohol or drugs, and you refuse, you can face the same penalties as for refusing a breathalyzer.
When a police officer pulls you over, it is important to know your rights. It’s equally important to understand the consequences of failure to comply with the police officer’s reasonable requests.