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Violating Implied Consent and DUI: What to Consider

DUI Stop

When you are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, the police may ask you to take a sobriety test. This test is used to give the police officer an idea of your level of intoxication. Do you know how implied consent laws affect your right to refuse these types of tests? Our team at Tillotson & Martin, LLC is here to discuss what you need to know about implied consent, sobriety tests, and your rights if being charged with DUI.

What is Implied Consent?

In the context of DUI investigations, implied consent is the law that requires drivers to submit to chemical testing to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). While implied consent laws vary from state to state, they typically follow a similar pattern. First, a police officer must have probable cause to believe that a driver is intoxicated before administering a sobriety test. Before the test has been administered, the driver has the right to refuse it. However, if the driver does refuse the test, they may be subject to criminal penalties. In some states, refusal to take a sobriety test is automatically considered a crime, regardless of whether the driver is actually intoxicated. In other states, refusal to take the test may be used as evidence of guilt in court.

It’s important to note that chemical testing required under the implied consent law include:

  • Breath tests

  • Blood tests

  • Urine tests

 

Any three of these tests may be requested, and the results may be used to prove DUI of alcohol or illicit drugs.

Penalties for Violating Implied Consent

Violating an implied consent law can result in a number of penalties, including automatic license suspension and fines. Oftentimes, the period of license suspension for violating implied consent is even longer than the period of license suspension after a DUI conviction.

In Virginia, if your driver's license is suspended, you have the right to contest the suspension in court. The first step is to request a hearing within 10 days of receiving notice of the suspension. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present evidence and argue your case. If the judge finds that there was no justification for the suspension, your license will be reinstated. However, if the judge determines that the suspension was valid, your license will remain suspended. In either case, it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side to ensure that your rights are protected.

Field Sobriety Tests and Implied Consent

Field sobriety tests are an important tool for law enforcement officers when determining whether or not a driver is impaired. These tests include the walk and turn test, one-leg stand test, and horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

These tests are not always accurate and there is a significant risk of false positives. Luckily, drivers are not required to take field sobriety tests under implied consent. In other words, you are not subject to the penalties above if you refuse to participate in field sobriety tests. Instead, you can and should refuse to take these tests at all times.

Contesting Sobriety Test Results in Court

There are a number of ways to do this, but the most important thing is to act quickly and consult with an experienced DUI attorney. One way to contest the results of a sobriety test is to challenge the validity of the testing equipment. If the breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated, for example, it could produce inaccurate results. Another way to contest the results is to question the officer's methods. Were the field sobriety tests conducted properly? Was there any reason why you might have appeared unsteady on your feet? An experienced DUI attorney will know how to challenge the results of a sobriety test and give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction.

The Virginia Beach DUI Defense Team You Need

If you've recently been charged with a DUI, it is important to secure the best defense possible. Choosing the right lawyer can be daunting, but Tillotson & Martin, LLC have proven themselves time and time again. Contact us today to discuss your pending DUI case and learn more about what we can do to help you reach an optimal outcome.

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