Can I Refuse A DUI Test During A Virginia Traffic Stop?
When executing a traffic stop on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), a Virginia police officer has lawful authority to request a chemical test to measure the driver’s level of intoxication. Given the severe penalties in Virginia for DUI offenses, certain drivers have attempted to refuse the DUI test. Any person who refuses a DUI test in Virginia, though, can face separate legal and criminal consequences for their actions.
What are the Virginia Laws Against DUI?
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other substances. The meaning of the term impairment is vital. Impairment applies when a person consumes a substance, lawfully or illegally, and can no longer operate their vehicle in a controlled fashion.
How Does Virginia Penalize DUI?
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270, there is a multifaceted system of penalties in place for DUI offenses. Generally, DUI is a misdemeanor on the first or second offense, and a felony on the third or subsequent offense, as detailed below:
- First Offense — Class 1 misdemeanor with criminal fines of at least $250 and, in certain cases, five to 10 days in jail;
- Second Offense — Class 1 misdemeanor with criminal fines of at least $500 and a minimum of 10 to 20 days in jail;
- Third Offense — Class 6 felony with criminal fines of at least $1,000 and a minimum of 90 days to six months in prison; or
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense — Class 6 felony with criminal fines of at least $1,000 and a minimum of 12 months in prison.
What are the Virginia Laws Against Refusing a DUI Test?
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-268.2, all drivers on state roads provide implied consent to reasonable DUI testing, which means a driver must submit to a lawful request for a DUI test. Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-268.3, it is unlawful to refuse a reasonable DUI test request.
How Does Virginia Penalize Refusing a DUI Test?
Under Section 18.2-268.3, there are several potential penalties for refusing a DUI test. Depending on the number of previous offenses, if any, the punishment for this offense is as follows:
- First Offense — Civil offense with a maximum of 12 months of driver’s license suspension; or
- Second or Subsequent Offense (within 10 years) — Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum of $2,500 in criminal fines, 12 months in jail, and 36 months of driver’s license revocation.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about DUI or refusing a DUI test, contact the Leesburg DUI defense attorneys at Simms Showers LLP today. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.