Know Your Rights When You are Charged with a DUI in Virginia

dui checkpoint signYou’re driving along and see flashing police lights reflected in your rearview mirror. Your pulse starts to race and your stress skyrockets. “What’s wrong? What did I do?”  Regardless of how pressure-packed these moments are, you need to remember that you are not powerless in these stops by law enforcement.  You have rights and these must be observed in the name of fairness and justice.

So, what are your rights if you are charged with DUI in Virginia? The team at Taylor Law Company wants you to be aware that the U.S. Constitution and the Virginia Constitution afford you various rights.  You have the right to be protected against unreasonable search and seizures.  You also have the right not to incriminate yourself by remaining silent.  Finally, you DO have the right in Virginia to refuse all standardized field sobriety tests and other tests officers request you to take.  You also have the right to refuse to blow in the preliminary breath test (PBT) on the side of the road.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you are ever stopped by an officer, the side of the road is not the place to argue and resist the police. You can provide identification, but you do not have to answer questions or take their tests.   However, you should ALWAYS be polite to the officer and if they order you to do something you should comply and we can address the legal issues in court.

If the officer places you under arrest, under Virginia law, it is implied that you have consented to give a sample of your breath since you are driving on the roads in Virginia (whether you have a Virginia driver’s license or not). If you do not consent after an arrest, and the failure to consent is deemed unreasonable, you can be charged with refusal and could be looking at a 12-month license suspension or jail time if it is not your first offense.

This is a very brief look at your rights if you are charged with DUI in Virginia. If it ever happens to you, find yourself a good DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA, who has lots of experience with these cases.

Ann M. Thayer
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