DUI and Implied Consent in Virginia

DUI Blood and Breath Test and Consent

On July 1, 2020, the general assembly implemented a change concerning the penalty for refusing to cooperate with a blood or breath test following an arrest for a DUI charge. On top of the negative implications of a DUI, a refusal to submit to a lawful request for breath analysis can land you in hot water as well.

Virginia has an “implied consent” law, which in essence means every Virginia driver has previously consented to be tested for alcohol when they are arrested for suspicion of DUI in the Commonwealth.  Drivers consent to this when they receive their driver’s license from the VA Department of Motor Vehicles and it is not subject to limitation.

Implications of Refusal to Submit

Refusal to submit to this testing after being arrested for a violation of either 18.2-266 (DUI) or 18.2-266.1 (DUI under 21) will result in an additional charge of Refusal under statute 18.2-268.3 with negative implications that impact your ability to drive.

A first violation of this statute is considered a civil penalty.  However, a  first offense penalty includes a suspension of a person’s privilege to drive for a period of one (1) year.  Up until recently, no restricted license could be granted during the period of suspension which could be very harmful to someone’s ability to maintain employment and take care of family members.

The foregoing changed on July 1, 2020, when a section was added to the statute allowing the petition for a restricted license after 30 days of suspension.  The bill reads:

“Refusal of tests; restricted license. Allows a person convicted of a first offense of unreasonable refusal to have samples of his breath or blood taken for chemical tests to determine the alcohol content of his blood to petition the court 30 days after conviction for a restricted driver’s license. The court may, for good cause shown, grant such restricted license for the same purposes as allowed for restricted licenses granted after conviction of driving under the influence if the person installs an ignition interlock system on each motor vehicle owned by or registered to the person and enters into and successfully completes an alcohol safety action program. The bill provides that such restricted license shall not permit any person to operate a commercial motor vehicle.”

DUI Lawyers Ready to Help

Call Ashwell & Ashwell, PLLC for all of your criminal and traffic needs serving Fauquier, Warren, Prince William, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Frederick, Stafford, and Clarke Counties and all jurisdictions in Northern Virginia and the Piedmont region.