Refusing a Breathalyzer Could Land You in Jail

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

Follow Amelia Nahmias on Facebook.

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Sunday's big game brought a lot of fun and entertainment and also a lot of drinking.

Flashing lights behind you, an officer approaches and hands you a breathalyzer.

Bob Keefer, a local lawyer, said you can refuse.

"You're not required to blow into the hand-held device. You're also not required to participate in the field testing, I call it roadside gymnastics," said Keefer.

Other events would include walking a straight line, standing on one leg and watching a pen.

"You're not required to do all that. But, in Virginia, there's something called implied consent. By getting a driver's license, you've implicitly agreed to take an evidentiary breath tester if you've been arrested for DUI," said Keefer.

State trooper Brian Breeden said that first test at the scene doesn't even matter.

"The test that they can not refuse is the breathalyzer or the intoxilyzer given at the jail," said Breeden.

That's after you've already been arrested and they don't need scientific proof to arrest you.

"By the time it comes around to the breath test, the law enforcement officer has already made their decision whether they're going to arrest or not," said Breeden.

Once you're arrested and you refuse, Keefer said it's worse than getting a DUI

In Virginia, a first refusal is one year hard suspension, which means you cannot drive at all.


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