If you are pulled over by a police officer in Virginia and suspected of driving under the influence (DUI), you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test (FST). The FST is a series of physical and cognitive tests that are designed to determine if a driver is impaired. However, you have the right to refuse the FST, but what happens if you do?
In Virginia, if you refuse to take a FST, you may face consequences such as a driver's license suspension, fines, and even jail time. Here's what you need to know:
1. Implied Consent Law
In Virginia, when you obtain a driver's license, you are giving your implied consent to take a FST if a police officer suspects you of driving under the influence. If you refuse to take the test, your driver's license will be suspended for one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and three years for the third offense.
2. Criminal Charges
Refusing to take a FST can also result in criminal charges, such as obstruction of justice or contempt of court. These charges can result in fines and even jail time.
3. Alternative Tests
If you refuse to take the FST, the police officer may ask you to take a breathalyzer test or a blood test. While you have the right to refuse these tests as well, the consequences for refusing them are the same as refusing the FST.
4. Legal Defense
If you refuse to take the FST, it is important to contact an experienced DUI attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options. An attorney can also help you build a strong defense if you are charged with DUI.
It is important to understand the consequences of refusing a field sobriety test in Virginia. If you are pulled over by a police officer and asked to take a FST, it is important to remain calm and polite, but you also have the right to refuse the test. However, it is important to understand that refusing the test can result in serious consequences, including a driver's license suspension, fines, and even jail time.