What Happens After a DUI Arrest in Prince William County

In all but extraordinary circumstances, an individual arrested for a DUI in Prince William County is immediately taken either to the police station or the Adult Detention Center in Manassas. The exception to this is if serious physical injury is involved, which case a person will first be taken to a hospital within Prince William County before going to either of these two other locations.

Read below to learn more about what happens after a DUI arrest in Prince William County. And if you are facing charges, reach out to a seasoned DUI lawyer today.

Breath Tests Following a DUI Arrest

Once an arrested person arrives at the police station or jail, they will be expected to submit to a mandatory breath test. Before this test can be done, the individual has to be put through a 20-minute observation period by the operator of the breath machine to eliminate the chance that residual mouth alcohol or other intoxicant imitators in one’s mouth will compromise the accuracy of the test. During this observation period, they can not burp, belch, regurgitate, or stick anything in their mouth. If they do any of these things, the 20-minute observation period restarts.

The breathalyzer machine will require the person to provide at least two sufficient breath samples in order to produce a final blood alcohol content (BAC) reading. If the sample comes out very low or at zero BAC but the person still appears to be substantially intoxicated, officers will seek to have the person undergo a blood draw so that a blood sample can be tested for other intoxicating drugs.

Refusing a Breath and Blood Tests

An arrested person cannot refuse to take a breath test at the police station or jail unless they have a basis for a reasonable refusal. A reasonable refusal may include being unconscious, deaf, or afflicted with breathing problems that prevent them from producing a sufficient level of breath volume into the machine. If this test is not properly refused in this manner, then the individual can be charged with an additional offense of unreasonable refusal, which is civil in nature the first time and a misdemeanor for all second or subsequent offenses. A person can also never refuse a blood test without getting charged with a civil refusal offense if they do not have a reasonable basis for refusing.

An unreasonable refusal of a blood test in Prince William County is never more than a civil violation, however, the licensing penalties are severe. For a first offense, there is a one-year revocation of license or driving privileges without exception, which is added onto whatever other suspensions or revocations one might receive for other driving offenses. A second or subsequent refusal within ten years of a prior qualifying refusal or DUI offense elevates the loss of driving privileges to three years without exception, and consecutive to any other suspensions or revocations one has incurred from other offenses.

An unreasonable refusal of a breath test carries these same enhanced penalties for first offenses versus subsequent offenses, except that subsequent offenses become misdemeanor charges carrying potential jail time and higher fines instead of civil charges carrying no jail time for a first offense.

DUI Hearing

Once all testing is over, a person is brought to a part of the jail where there is a magistrate judge on duty who will make the initial bail decision as to whether the person will be released on a bond once they are sober. In that hearing, the arresting officer will be present and will communicate a summary version of his observations to the magistrate in order to demonstrate that the officer had probable cause to arrest the accused for a DUI. The magistrate will then further consider a person’s criminal record, charge severity, and other circumstances as to the commission of the offense before granting or denying a bond. If the person is granted a bond but still intoxicated enough that their release would jeopardize them for receiving a drunk-in-public charge, they will be taken to a separate part of the jail where they will wait for a number of hours before they sober up.

Contacting an Attorney Following a DUI Arrest

Typically, the first opportunity a person will have to contact an attorney for a DUI case will be right after they have been released from jail after being granted a bond, or right after they have been told they will be indefinitely held in jail because the magistrate judge denied bond. Whichever is the case, a person should contact an attorney for a DUI case as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions about what happens after a DUI arrest in Prince William County, reach out to an experienced lawyer today. Let our team advocate for you.

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