One of the most common questions relating to driver’s rights involves Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Specifically, drivers question what penalties await them if they choose not to take a breathalyzer test.
What types of breathalyzer tests do cops give?
When you are initially pulled over for a DWI in Virginia, officers ask you to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) on the street. A second test is administered at the police station on a larger device designed to provide more accurate blood alcohol readings.
Do you have the right to refuse a PBT?
Virginia DWI law guarantees you the right to refuse a PBT when you are pulled over. Officers may ask you to take the test, but test results provide just cause to arrest you for a DWI. Refusing to take the PBT test cannot be used against you in a DWI case.
What happens if you refuse to take the second breathalyzer test?
After the police officer arrests you for suspicion of a DWI and you are taken to the police station, Virginia’s implied consent rule applies. Under this law, you give consent to a breathalyzer test or a blood test if you decide to operate a vehicle and are subsequently charged with a DWI.
If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test at the police station, you face the following possible consequences:
- License suspension of up to three years
- Class A misdemeanor conviction
- Jail sentence
These consequences do not include the penalties associated with a DWI conviction.
What are the long-term effects of refusing to take a breathalyzer test?
Convictions for refusing to take a breathalyzer test can result in a criminal record. Your ability to obtain the jobs you want may be lost, and your ability to travel freely may be severely restricted.