If an officer asks you to submit to a Breathalyzer test during a traffic stop, you have the right to decline that request. However, because of implied consent laws in Virginia and most other states, you could have your license suspended for doing so. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that not taking the test will allow you to avoid being taken into custody.
The power of implied consent laws
When you obtained your license, you agreed to comply with requests to perform field sobriety tests or to take blood, urine or Breathalyzer tests. Implied consent laws also require you to present your license and proof of insurance to an officer upon request. It is important to note that you can still face penalties for violating implied consent laws even if you are acquitted of a drunk driving charge.
You could face steeper penalties
If you are convicted of a DUI after failing to take a breathalyzer or other tests, you might be sentenced to a larger fine or to a longer jail sentence. You may also lose your license for an extended period of time if you refuse to take a field sobriety or other test.
Many lines of evidence can be reviewed in your case
The results of a blood or other chemical test may be powerful evidence that you were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, it may be possible to obtain a conviction without those results. In some cases, your refusal to submit to testing might be enough to obtain a conviction. Furthermore, there may be a video or other evidence that could show beyond any reasonable doubt that you broke the law.
A criminal law professional may be able to help you obtain a plea deal that might result in a DUI charge being dropped or reduced. This might be done by asserting that a medical issue caused your slurred speech or that a mechanical problem with your car caused it to swerve on the highway.