If you’re pulled over and suspected of driving while under the influence in Fairfax, the first thing an officer is going to do is approach on foot and ask to see your license and registration. While this may seem relatively innocent, the officer is actually looking to see whether you have any trouble obtaining your license or registration and making observations on whether there are any signs of alcohol usage such as the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, or if there’s any open containers in the vehicle.
The officer at this point will likely ask whether you have had anything to drink, which can provide evidence for the officer, even if you say you have only had one or two.
Once the officer has determined that alcohol may be involved they will typically ask the suspect to step out of the vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests. It is important to note, however, that you do not have to perform these tests even though the officer will likely not tell you this.
These tests come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and are taught to police officers in the academy to help determine whether people are operating under the influence or not. While you are conducting these test the officer will be looking for certain things including:
Using these clues an officer can begin to glean whether or not someone is under the influence. If they felt like you performed these tests unsatisfactorily, then the next step will be to administer a preliminary breath test.
Before blowing into the preliminary breath test the officer will give you warnings to let you know that the test can not be used against you in court except to determine whether or not you should be arrested. If you do blow in to the machine, on the street, the officer will use that willingness evidence against you. If it shows absolutely nothing, the officer may release you or he may believe you’re under the influence of drugs, depending on the officer who has the case.
If you blow positively in the machine or if the officer has other reasons to believe that you’re in under the influence of alcohol, he will place handcuffs on you and book you. You will then be searched, and once at booked, there is typically the Intoximeter machine. It’s the machine that is use to see if you have a blood alcohol content of above the legal limit.
If you are in a location, there will be certain things the officer must be do first. And eventually, he will ask you to blow in to a machine. If you do in fact blow in to the machine, the result can be used against you in court. If you refuse to blow in to the machine, the officer will read you the “implied consent” law of Virginia which states that by driving on the roads of Virginia, you implied the consent with them having your breath taken.
After reading that to you, if you still refuse to blow, he will charge you with the refusal at which point you will probably remain in a cell until they release you when you are sober which is typically 8 to 10 hours after arrest.
If arrested for DUI you will be taken to the Fairfax Adult Detention Center. When you’re brought back the booking, they will test your blood alcohol content by getting you to blow in a machine so that they can get a reading to determine whether you are in fact intoxicated or not.
However before they administer the test, they will observe you for some period of time and will read you the “implied consent” law of Virginia which states that by driving on the roads of Virginia you consent to having your blood or breath taken by police, which will also be used against you as evidence at trial.
You can always refuse to take your BAC test in Fairfax or elsewhere in Virginia, but they’re all tend to lead to that. Because of the “implied consent” law of Virginia, you have incentive to having your breath or blood taken so that they can measure the blood alcohol content.
If you refuse to blow in to the machine, they can charge you with a refusal charge. The first offense refusal charge which is a civil charge, punishable by a 1-year loss of license with no ability to get a restricted license. If it’s a second or subsequent offense, it’s in fact a misdemeanor and can be punished by jail time, a fine and another year loss of license.
So, you can refuse but you can be charged of refusal offense. So additionally, police, even if you refuse, have the right to get a search warrant to get your blood. So in some cases, even if you refuse, not only will you be charged with the refusal but you also have the blood taken by police.