Many people are unclear when they must submit to breath and/or blood tests for the purposes of DUI charges in Loudoun County. While blood alcohol content (BAC) results are not the only way for the Commonwealth of Virginia to prove that individuals have committed DUI, BAC results are perhaps the most common method of doing so.
If you are arrested for DUI, you can expect that a police officer will request that you undergo a breath and/or blood test to measure your BAC in Loudoun County. Those BAC results, assuming that the tests were administered to you properly, are admissible in court to show a violation of Virginia DUI law. For more information about BAC in Loudon County, consult with a seasoned DUI attorney.
Virginia Code § 18.2-266 provides that it is illegal for drivers to operate motor vehicles while they have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. This is Virginia’s “per se” DUI offense. In other words, even if the drivers did not appear to be or were not actually impaired by alcohol while driving, this level of BAC in Loudoun County can result in individuals being convicted of DUI.
Similarly, if individuals who are under the age of 21 operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.02 percent or greater, they violate § 18.2-266.1. Again, there is no requirement that the individuals actually be impaired by the alcohol that they consumed in order to be convicted of this offense. The mere fact that they consumed enough alcohol to bring their BACs to this level means that they have violated this law.
Drivers who are suspected of DUI have the right to have their breath tested under § 18.2-267, if equipment is available, by police officers in order to get a preliminary BAC analysis. While the results of this BAC reading in Loudoun County are not admissible in court, they do constitute probable cause for an arrest for DUI.
Once police officers arrest drivers suspected of DUI, whether based on a preliminary BAC reading or not, they routinely request drivers to take a breath test. If equipment for a breath test is unavailable, or if drivers are physically unable to submit to a breath test, then they may have a blood test. The results of these breath or blood tests then are admissible in court to show violations of DUI laws.
Under § 18.2-268.2, drivers impliedly consent to breath and/or blood tests when driving in Virginia and arrested on DUI charges. The tests must occur within three hours of their arrest on the offense. Therefore, if drivers refuse to take a breath test when requested, they may be required to submit to blood tests to measure their BACs and/or level of drugs in their blood.
There are collateral consequences to refusing to take breath or blood tests as requested. According to Virginia Code § 46.2-391.2, drivers who refuse to take a breath test when requested to do so by law enforcement will receive an automatic seven-day driver’s license suspension. This is regardless of the outcome of the drivers’ BAC in Loudoun County, as measured by later mandatory blood tests.
A second breath test refusal will result in an automatic license suspension for 60 days or until the individuals go to trial on the underlying DUI charges, whichever occurs first. A third breath test refusal will result in an automatic license suspension that will last until the individuals go to trial on the DUI charges.
Any of these administrative license suspensions based on drivers’ refusal to submit to chemical testing run consecutively to any court-imposed license suspensions based on DUI convictions.
A clear understanding of when BAC testing is required, and the penalties for refusing to submit to testing, is essential information for all drivers. When you have consumed any alcohol and then operate a motor vehicle, the consequences can be serious.
Measurements of BAC in Loudoun County can directly affect the outcome of any DUI charges that you may be facing. Contact an experienced DUI defense attorney today, and learn more about what you can do to fight the charges against you.
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