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5 Reasons for Refusing a Breath Test that Will Get You in Trouble in Virginia

Feb. 6, 2017

1. You Don't Think You're Drunk

  • You can't refuse to take a breath test just because you don't think you're drunk. From the police officer's perspective, that's the purpose of the breath test. If you've been arrested for DUI within three hours of driving on a public highway, you have to submit to a breath test or you could be charged with Refusal.

2. You Want to Talk to An Attorney

  • You have the right to speak with an attorney if you're arrested and charged with a DUI, but you do not have the right to speak to an attorney before you submit to a breath test. The police officer is trying to get the breath test as quickly as possible so that your blood alcohol level doesn't decrease too much. Allowing you to speak with an attorney would cause a significant delay. That's why your request to speak with an attorney before you submit to a breath test will be ignored by the police officer.

3. You Don't Think the Breath Machine Is Accurate.

  • If you don't believe the breath machine is accurate, you're not alone. In fact, many scientific experts agree with you. However, as far as the government is concerned, that doesn't matter. You still have to submit a breath test. The time for challenging the accuracy of the breath test machine is leading up to and during trial.

4. You Don't Like the Way the Officer Is Treating You

  • Police officers are trained to treat citizens with dignity and respect. However, sometimes officers make mistakes. Just because an officer treats you disrespectfully, however, does not mean you do not have to submit to a breath test. It also probably doesn't mean that the charges will be dismissed, unless the officer went way over the line.

5. You're Hungry or You Just Want to Get Home

  • Going through the arrest process for DUI is time consuming. It starts with the officer's questions after he stops your car. Next, the officer has you perform field sobriety tests. Next the officer will have you blow into a preliminary breath test device. Next the officer will transport you to the police station. Then the officer will have to observe you for twenty minutes before you submit a breath sample. Then you'll be brought before a magistrate. From the time the officer stops your car until you leave the jail will probably be hours. Unfortunately, that's not a good reason to refuse to take a breath test.