At Robinson Law, PLLC, we too often hear that our clients don’t know their rights when they are pulled over by law enforcement on the road. As we have articulated in previous blog posts, a person is legally considered to be operating under the influence of alcohol if that person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher. What are a driver’s rights, though, between the initiation of the traffic stop and the BAC test? If you are a driver in Virginia, you should be well versed in your rights on the road.
When Can An Officer Ask You to Perform a BAC Test?
If a police officer ever stops you on the road and tells you they need a reading of your BAC, that officer must have what is called “probable cause” to suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If, for example, the officer has seen your car swerving or has noticed that your words are not making sense, that officer might have probable cause to conduct a breathalyzer test. Without any probable cause, the officer cannot legally conduct this kind of test.
If you have either been arrested for a DUI or under suspicion of a DUI, the officer can legally require you to perform a BAC test. This means that by driving on Virginia roads, you are offering your implied consent to be tested for alcohol when you are arrested for suspicion of driving while impaired. The important takeaway is that as long as you have not given the police officer reason to think you are driving under the influence, the officer has no right to test you, either through a breathalyzer or a sobriety test (i.e., asking you to walk in a straight line).
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