Randall, Page & Bruch, P.C. – Attorneys at Law

A Guide To Sobriety Tests

Randall, Page & Bruch, P.C.

Often, the most important evidence in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases is the results from a breathalyzer test. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can end with dire consequences as well. If you are pulled over in Virginia under suspicion of driving under the influence, chances are, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test.

The laws concerning these tests can be convoluted and difficult to understand. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the Virginia DUI attorneys at Randall, Page & Bruch, P.C. can help from the initial arrest through the legal process.

The Rules Of The Breathalyzer

Breathalyzers are electronic devices that allow Virginia police officers to test the blood-alcohol content (BAC) of a person suspected of driving under the influence. There are two types of breathalyzer tests in Virginia.

  1. Preliminary Breath Test – a small, portable electronic device suspects blow into on the roadside. These are not usually permissible in court.
  2. Secondary Breath Test – a larger and more precise breathalyzer device administered at the police station. These are usually used as evidence in DUI charges.

In order to administer a PBT, there must be “reasonable suspicion” someone was driving under the influence. Failing a PBT or a field sobriety test can lead to an arrest for DUI. You can refuse a PBT but refusal usually also results in an arrest.

In addition to the PBT, officers may ask you to perform any number of sobriety tests, but Virginia only has three standardized field sobriety tests:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test — Tracking eye movement by moving a finger back in forth in front of a person’s eyes
  • The One-Leg Stand Test — Standing on one leg for 30 seconds
  • The Walk-and-Turn Test — Walking a straight line by putting your feet heel-to-toe, then turning around and returning to the original position.

Any other tests (like saying your ABCs in reverse) are less admissible in court, and the validity can be challenged by an attorney.

If arrested, it is mandatory to perform a secondary breathalyzer test or a blood test at the police station. This is referred to as the Implied Consent Law – if you drive on Virginia roads, you consent to DUI testing. You will take the second test three times to confirm the BAC, and these results will be used by the prosecution in the court case.

When Should I Contact A Lawyer?

The Virginia DUI attorneys at Randall, Page & Bruch, P.C. know the legal lay of the land and have a firm understanding of Southampton and Greensville County court systems. We have also built strong relationships with the area’s judges and prosecutors.

Do not try to represent yourself, the outcomes can be dire. There are so many aspects of a case to consider, and without proper training, DUI defendants can become overwhelmed and bowled over by the system. We will investigate your charges and work on getting them reduced or dismissed. Contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling 757-517-8956.


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