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Legal implications of refusing a blood, breath or urine sample

A breathalyzer test is often used by the Police and Highway Patrol to have a reliable indication of the amount of alcohol in a person's blood. This is generally done when there is reasonable cause to suggest that a person, most commonly a driver involved in an accident or an incident, is intoxicated above the legal blood alcohol limit.Since a person that has been asked to take a breathalyzer test is already under suspicion of being intoxicated beyond the legal driving limit, refusing to take a test therefore has serious consequences because it is seen as an effort to not disclose evidence for a potential crime.Initial refusal

Refusing a preliminary field breathalyzer test is more common than you might think - approximately 20 percent of suspected drunk-drivers across the U.S. refuse this. This is because taking a preliminary breathalyzer test on the scene in most states, including Virginia, is not mandatory and therefore can be refused without serious consequences.Full refusal

If you are arrested based on other evidence, however, you must provide a blood, breath or urine sample within three hours of driving. In Virginia, a refusal on these terms will result in your license being immediately suspended. This is called administrative suspension, and the length of this suspension is determined by whether you have any previous DUI charges. This suspension time does not count toward the penalty charge of driving suspension that you will receive later. In Virginia, refusal will result in a 1 year license suspension if it is your first offense, and a 3 year license suspension if your prior refusal occurred in the past 10 years.Legal implications for other chargesYou may refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test because you fear that it will hold legal consequences. However refusing a test is not a safe way to try to prevent conviction - intoxication can be proven at the scene in other ways. Furthermore, your refusal can be used against you in court. To discuss any of these issues further, it's important to get in contact with an experienced lawyer who can help you with your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?," accessed July 05, 2017

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