Virginia DUI/DWI Implied Consent Law
If you drive on the highways of Virginia, Virginia law considers that you have impliedly consented to a breath or blood test (or both) to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Even if you don’t have a Virginia driver’s license, you are considered to have consented to BAC testing just by driving on Virginia’s highways. Because the law of Virginia implies your consent, your failure to comply with a police officer’s request for breath or blood testing is a crime that carries additional penalties separate from an arrest for drunk driving.
Opting Out Of A Breath Test
If a police officer requests you to submit to a breath or blood test to determine your BAC level and you unreasonably refuse, the police officer is required to advise you of the consequences of a refusal. Your unreasonable refusal can be used against you in court and may result in the revocation of your driver’s license.
If you still refuse to submit to testing, then the officer will fill out a form that will be forwarded to a magistrate judge who will issue a warrant charging you with violating Virginia’s Implied Consent Law. You will be required to answer the charge in court just as you would with a misdemeanor charge.
Implied Consent Law Consequences
What are the penalties for violating Virginia’s Implied Consent Law? A first offense violation of Virginia’s Implied Consent Law is a civil offense. It is not a criminal charge per se, but it carries penalties that many drivers who rely upon their car for all transportation believe are even harsher than Virginia’s penalties for drunk driving.
For a first refusal, you will lose your driver’s license for one year, and you will NOT be eligible for a restricted driving permit during all of that time. For a second refusal within a ten-year period, and it should be noted here that a second offense refusal is a criminal charge, you will lose your license for three years.
You will also be faced with the possibility of a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. For a third or subsequent refusal within a ten-year period, you will lose your license for three years, but you will also be faced with the possibility of a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail. And remember, all of these penalties are in addition to the penalties for DUI/DWI.