In Virginia, whenever an individual is operating a vehicle within the Commonwealth and there is probable cause to believe that they are under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol, Virginia law states that they have given implied consent to provide a sample of breath or blood to determine whether they are in fact under the influence. If they refuse to do this, they will be charged with the civil offense of refusal which carries a twelve-month hard loss of license.
This hard loss means that the individual is not eligible for any kind of restricted license. This is different from a DUI conviction where under most circumstances, a restricted license will be issued. In this regard refusal is actually very serious as it has the potential to take away an individual’s license for up to 12 months even if they are not convicted of DUI. With this in mind, it is important to consult with a Manassas DUI lawyer as soon as possible so they can advise the individual on whether it is likely in their best interest to submit to a breath or blood test.
If an individual refuses one of these tests for the first time, they will be charged with refusal under Virginia law. This is an additional offense that is distinct from DUI and it has the potential to cause them to lose their license for a period of twelve months without the possibility of getting a restricted license. Even if the individual is ultimately acquitted at trial, because they refused that initial test, their license will still remain suspended.
If an individual refuses to take a blood alcohol test having previously been convicted of refusal one time, it actually becomes a class two misdemeanor under Virginia law, which is punishable by up to six months in jail.
If this happens for a third or subsequent time, then the possibility that the individual may receive an active jail sentence becomes very real. Refusal is taken very seriously in Manassas and throughout the rest of Virginia and as such is something that should be taken very seriously.
In every DUI case where an individual is convicted, one of the conditions of their sentence will include enrolling in and successfully completing a state-administered DUI or alcohol education course, which is referred to as the ASAP program.
There are some circumstances where the person may wish to pre-enroll in ASAP, complete a private alcohol education course or even undertake alcohol treatment in advance of court. Whether it is advisable to take any of these proactive steps is something that you should review with your attorney on a case by case basis.
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