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The DUI Breath Test That Drivers in Virginia Can Refuse to Take

woman in car blowing into breathalyzer while police officer stands and looks at her ID

Many people hear about implied consent laws and assume they must take every breath test they are presented with. But is this actually the case? Our team at Tillotson & Martin, LLC explains what you may or may not know about roadside breathalyzer tests and your rights.

What is a PBT?

A PBT, or a preliminary breath test, is a roadside breathalyzer test that police officers may administer to see if there is probable cause to make a DUI arrest. If the driver takes this test and they are over the legal BAC limit of 0.08%, they will likely be arrested and charged with DUI.

Are PBTs Mandatory in Virginia?

No, taking a preliminary breath test is not mandatory in Virginia. This is optional just like field sobriety tests are, but many drivers do not know this. Ultimately, taking a PBT can severely hurt your case, and the evidence from your PBT alone could justify the officer arresting you.

If you do take a PBT, the test results cannot be used against you in court. However, you will be asked to take an official breathalyzer test if you are arrested. This is the test that is mandatory, and these results can be used against you in court.

It’s also worth noting that preliminary breath test evidence is not as accurate as the post-arrest breathalyzer evidence.

Penalties for Not Taking PBTs

There are none! As previously stated, these tests are not mandatory. Not taking a preliminary breath test is your right; your license will not be suspended as a result. Preliminary breath tests are not required under implied consent laws.

Virginia Beach DUI Defense

If you were arrested for DUI after taking a roadside breathalyzer test, contact our team at Tillotson & Martin, LLC. We want to help you challenge the results of the test and ultimately fight for your charges to be dropped or your case to be dismissed. Share the details of your stop and arrest during an initial consultation; click here to reach out to our DUI defense attorneys today.