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Refusing DUI Tests in Leesburg, Virginia

What DUI related tests are you required to take? A Leesburg DUI lawyer explains below. For assistance with your case, call today and schedule a free consultation.

Can You Refuse To Perform Field Sobriety Test In Leesburg?

If you are pulled over, and suspected of committing a DUI related offense in Leesburg you can absolutely refuse to perform field sobriety test. The officers receive specific training on how to convince suspected DUI offenders to perform field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests are helpful for the officers to give them more information with which to prosecute you. They will often ask you to do the field sobriety tests in a very kind way and a cooperative way. However, you should not fall for this ruse, field sobriety tests may absolutely be refused and they should be refused under most circumstances.

Are There Any Nuances To Field Sobriety Tests?

Yes, there are many nuances to field sobriety tests. The most common nuances are how the officer receives his or her training in the administration of the field sobriety test. The most common foundation for the sobriety test training is to be certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA. The NHTSA guidelines were set forth drawn up over 20 years ago after a series of controlled studies.

These controlled studies were not done on roads, they were done in research laboratories involving persons that officers knew to be intoxicated. Over the years, the scientific community has pointed out that these studies were highly flawed. However, there have been no updated studies.

In designing their field sobriety tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies three primary tests. These primary tests are the HGN test, the nine step walk and turn test and the one leg stand test. These are the most commonly administered field sobriety tests in Leesburg.

In addition oftentimes Leesburg officers receive training through the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy or other local training centers. These academies teach officers in DUI detection and field sobriety. They are often taught at these academies to use non-certified tests such as counting backwards, ABCs, or the finger dexterity test. While these tests are not “standardized,” they’re often weighed by the court as to whether the person has violated the DUI statute.

Can You Refuse To Take A Preliminary Roadside Breath Test?

If you’re pulled over for suspicion of DUI, the officer may also offer you a PBT or preliminary breath test. They may tell you that that test is not admissible in court, this is only partly true. A PBT is not admissible in court for the purposes of determining whether or not you are guilty or innocent of the underlying DUI offense.

However, the PBT test is absolutely admissible for determining whether or not there is probable cause to place you under arrest. For that reason you should not give the officer any more ammunition with which to prosecute you. It is within your rights and you should absolutely refuse the PBT under most circumstances.

Are There Any Nuances To Preliminary Roadside Breath Test?

Yes. The roadside breath test (or PBT) is not admissible in court to determine guilt as these tests are prone to inaccuracies and they’re not given to the most scientific way. However, because they play a role in determining whether or not a person will be arrested, it’s important to understand them.

Can You Refuse To Take A Blood Alcohol Content Test?

If you’re arrested for suspicion of DUI in Leesburg, Virginia, the Virginia implied consent statute kicks in. Virginia Code Section 18.2-268.2 dictates  that by virtue of driving on a highway of the Commonwealth of Virginia you’re deemed to submit or consent to a blood or breath test. Typically, this involves a breath test unless you are physically unable to perform a breath test or the officer believes that a combination of drugs or alcohol may be at play.

If requested to submit to a breath test at the station pursuant to the implied consent statute you may refuse, but your refusal will have consequences. If you refuse after being advised of the implied consent statute, you will be charged with unreasonable refusal pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-268.3. Unreasonable refusal is a civil violation for a first offense, but this civil violation has serious consequences.

For a first offense of violating 18.2-268.3, if convicted you will lose your license for 12 months. This is a hard loss of license in addition to any license suspension imposed if you’re convicted of a DUI as well. Therefore, it may be in your best interests to refuse a test or in other circumstances it may not be.