What to Do at a Roadside Stop

Roanoke Criminal Defense Law Firm Experienced in Virginia DUI Law

Many people in Virginia are confused about what tests are required and not required when they're pulled over for a suspected DUI. Essentially, you don't legally have to do any of the tests performed on the side of the road, including the preliminary breath test. However, if you are arrested for DUI, you are required to take the breath test at the police station or sheriff's office. If you unreasonably refuse, you will lose your license for an entire year without the possibility of a restricted license. Note this distinction between the Preliminary Breath Test (often done in the field with a hand held unit) and the Breath Test offered at the police station. There is no penalty for refusal of the field preliminary breath test given by the officer at the scene of the stop. This "alkasensor" test is simply to give a rough readout of the alcohol concentration in the breath to assist the officer in finding probable cause, along with the field sobriety tests, to arrest you for the DUI.

Purpose of Roadside Stops

The purpose of roadside stops is to allow the law enforcement officer to determine if you're intoxicated or not, justifying an arrest. If you politely refuse those tests and there isn't any impaired behavior on your part, it may be hard for the officer to establish that he has probable cause to arrest you for DUI. More often than not, roadside tests will actually hurt your case.

Should I Refuse to Take a Mandatory DUI Test?

It almost never works to your advantage to refuse to take a blood or breath test once you are arrested for DUI. An unreasonable refusal to take the test will result in a year long suspension of your driver's license or driving privileges with no provision for restricted privileges!. And refusing the test does not guarantee that you won't be convicted. – you could still be found guilty of DUI and the unreasonable refusal. If you're pulled over for a DUI, you need to make informed decisions about what tests you agree to take. If you have questions about what to do at a roadside stop, Robert F. Rider, a Roanoke attorney who focuses on criminal defense litigation, has the answers for you. Contact our firm online or call 540-767-1717 to schedule an initial consultation today.