What Happens After a DUI Arrest in Prince William County

Where a person is taken after an arrest depends on their situation at the time they were arrested. For questions about what happens after a DUI arrest in Prince William County, it is best to reach out to a qualified attorney who is familiar with the process.

If someone is arrested at the scene of a collision, they may be taken directly to a hospital. Otherwise, they are typically taken to either the local jail or the police station — whichever is closer. Once there, they will be presented with the opportunity to blow into the standard breath test machine, or breathalyzer, to help complete law enforcement’s investigation for DUI.

Sobriety Tests

Once a person is arrested, they will be placed in the back of the police car and taken to the nearest available breath-testing station. Police offers will observe someone arrested under suspicion of DUI for a period of 20 minutes to evaluate their condition. Law enforcement will also prevent a person from eating or drinking before their breath test in order to avoid contamination and outside interference.

After 20 minutes passes, the person will have to blow into a breath machine and deliver two valid samples in order to trigger a result. The machine will subsequently print the result of the lower sample. Once that number is generated, the officer will decide whether to formally charge them with a DUI in front of the magistrate, which would be their next stop.

Because judges understand what they mean, field sobriety tests have a great deal of weight at a DUI trial. While doing well on them may not be dispositive of the case, it certainly does help. Similarly, doing poorly on field sobriety tests would require the court to find whether that person was safe enough to drive.

Refusing to Take a BAC Test in Prince William County

State law says that all licensed drivers operating their vehicles on public roads in Prince William County give implied consent to providing a breath or blood sample upon law enforcement’s request for the determination of their sobriety. If a person is driving on private property, this implied consent law does not apply.

Those who are arrested for DUI under those circumstances may refuse to take a breath test. Otherwise, they cannot refuse to take the test, and doing so could result in an additional charge for refusal. A person who is convicted of refusing to take a sobriety test would have an additional 12-month loss of license on top of their DUI penalties.

That suspension cannot be restricted to allow them to go to and from work, school, or anywhere else. In other words, it is a hard suspension which prevents a person from driving at all for any reason for a full year.

A Hearing before a Magistrate Judge

In most cases, a magistrate judge listens to police testimony, reviews the results of the breath test, and issues a warrant of arrest for DUI. After that, the person will remain in custody, and the judge will determine what — if any — bond is appropriate given the totality of circumstances.

Under some circumstances, they will hold them until it is believed they are sober enough to be released. Although, this condition is at law enforcement’s discretion.

When to Contact an Attorney

A person should call an attorney the morning after they are arrested — or on the day of their arrest, if possible. The sooner a lawyer can get on a case, the sooner they can begin their investigation and try to determine what, if any, defenses might be available. Many legal representatives find that the more time they have with a case, the better equipped they are to plan a beneficial course of action for the client.

If a person is arrested and held without bond, or the magistrate decides on a bond that they cannot afford, they would be entitled to an attorney. An experienced lawyer from our firm could file a bond motion very quickly to facilitate an overruling of the magistrate’s decision in order to get the person out of jail. It is very important to understand what happens after a DUI arrest in Prince William County so you can be prepared to assert your rights.