A typical DUI stop starts with the officer trying to determine whether or not they have reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop the motor vehicle. It may be due to alleged equipment violation or an alleged traffic infraction. After the officer stops the vehicle the officer will approach the vehicle and will ask the driver for their license and registration. At that point if the officer suspects that the person has been drinking, typically through the odor of the alcoholic beverage they ask the person a variety of questions related to DUI stop. These questions may include:
Often times these are leading questions. Depending on the answers to these questions and the observations of the officer including physical observations of the driver the officer may request the driver get out of the vehicle to perform Field Sobriety Test. In Virginia, Field Sobriety Tests are not mandatory and you should feel free to refuse them. Based on the behaviors and observations and evidence in the vehicle the officer chooses to make the arrest for DUI. You will then be placed under arrest and taken to either the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center or the local police substation.
If you are arrested for a DUI or if you are arrested for a suspected DUI, the officer has the right to search the vehicle. This is called a “search incident to arrest.” If the officer is merely investigating a DUI stop and does not otherwise have a probable cause to search your vehicle you may decline the officer’s request to search your vehicle. You should never consent to a request to search your vehicle as it is typically against your interests to do so and if the officer has a probable cause he or she should state that.
You can ask to speak to an attorney during a DUI stop. However, there is a case law that says that the officer is not required not to allow you to speak to an attorney while he conducts the stop. You can exercise your rights to not answer the officer’s questions until you have the opportunity to speak to your counsel. Depending on the individual facts and circumstances of your case you may be placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI at that point.
The biggest mistakes to avoid if you are stopped for suspicion of DUI is performing a Field Sobriety Test and taking the preliminary blood test also known as the PBT. In Virginia, there is no benefit to taking a PBT unless you have truly have consumed zero alcoholic beverages.
The PBT cannot be used against you to determine guilt or innocence but it can be used against you to determine the presence of alcohol for probable cause purposes. If your PBT number is near legal limit and certainly if above the legal limit, you should expect that you will be arrested regardless of your performance on the Field Sobriety Tests. Although an officer may make promises about how it cannot be used against you in court, it can certainly be used against you if the arrest takes place.
If you are arrested for a DUI in Loudoun County you are initially taken to the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center. The Loudoun County Adult Detention Center is located off Loudoun Center Parkway which is an access road off of Sycolin Road, a major local thoroughfare. The turn for the ADC is located across the street from the Leesburg Airport.
At the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center there are two separate phases that a person will go through after a DUI stop. The first phase they would go through the breath room. The breath room houses the EC/IR II machine. If you are arrested for suspicion of DUI based on consumption of alcohol, you are required to give a breath sample or you may refuse. In addition, another part of the same facility is the magistrate’s office. The magistrate determines the bond, if any, for your case and when you will be released.
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