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Can I get in trouble for refusing a breath test?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | blog, DUI

If an officer arrests you for driving under the influence of alcohol, you will likely need to take a breath test. This test allows the officer to get a reading of the level of alcohol in your body.

Virginia law explains it is illegal to refuse to take the test.

The law says you must take the test

The Code of Virginia states if you are under arrest for drunk driving and the officer asks you to take a breath test, you must do it, or you will face additional penalties. The punishment for refusing the test is automatic and is on top of any other penalties you may incur as part of the DUI charge.

Potential penalties under the law

The first time you refuse to take the test, you will lose your driver’s license for one year. This is in addition to other suspensions you may receive from the court or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If this is not the first time in the past ten years you have refused a test, then you will face misdemeanor charges, which could result in losing your driving privileges for three years. You also will have an automatic one-year suspension.

The penalties for refusing a breath alcohol test can add up. You could face many years without your ability to drive as a result. Keep in mind the test refusal penalties are automatic and do not require any conviction in court. They go into effect the moment you refuse and the officer documents it.


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