You ARE Required to Provide a BAC Sample at the Station under the Virginia Implied Consent Law.

So, you were pulled over, arrested, and taken to the police station for suspicion of a DUI. Now they’re asking you to take a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and you’re wondering if you have to comply. Yes, you have to provide a breath sample at the police station.

The Process

Once you arrive at the station, the officer will recite your Implied Consent Warnings detailing the consequences of submitting to either the Evidentiary Breathalyzer Test or another chemical screen using blood, as well as the risks for refusing.

You will be monitored for twenty minutes to ensure that you do not put anything in your mouth that could invalidate the test. During this time, you can’t drink, eat, vomit, or even burp or belch. If you do any of these things, the twenty-minute observation period must be restarted or the test is invalid. After you’ve been observed for the required time, you will blow in a tube for a prolonged period of time to make sure you provide a sufficient sample.

If the sample is not sufficient, you’ll be asked to do it again. If the sample was adequate, you’ll be asked to provide a second sample.  If both samples are sufficient, a ticket will print from the machine with your BAC levels on it. If you are asked repeatedly to try again because you can’t provide a sufficient sample, the law will treat this as a refusal to comply with the test.

Technology Behind the Test

While the scientific explanation is complicated, a simple way to explain it is that alcohol affects the wavelength of your breath. By using infrared light energy to measure the wavelength of your breath, the evidentiary Breathalyzer Test can convert that measurement to an estimated content of alcohol in your blood.


Any electronic device is only as good as the person administering the machine. They can be relatively accurate, but they are prone to error if not performed properly. As a scientific test, performing the test in a way that’s not compliant with the law invalidates the test. For instance, if you are not fully observed for the twenty minutes beforehand, the BAC results can be invalidated and suppressed.


The short answer is, yes, you can refuse. But if you either fail or refuse the test, you are subject to having your license suspended by the Implied Consent Law.

An officer cannot arrest you on suspicion of a DUI without probable cause, so by the time you’re at the police station, he likely already has a good reason to believe you are intoxicated.

Call the Johnson Law Firm to speak with an Experienced DUI Attorney

Put the expertise of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests of the Johnson Law Firm to work for you. Attorney James Johnson is qualified as an Instructor of SFSTs for law enforcement and police academies.

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