Contact 24/7:


Breath Test in Virginia


When stopped for driving while intoxicated (D.W.I.) or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (D.U.I.) almost with certainty, within 2 hours you will be given a Breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) also known as blood alcohol level. If you do not pass the test, blowing a .08 or higher, the police will use the results of the test as evidence against you in court.

As with the blood test there are several scientific factors to consider. Hiring an experienced D.U.I. law firm like the Law Offices of Christopher P. James starts on you on the path of thorough and aggressive representation.  Mr. James is an experienced D.U.I. and D.W.I. attorney familiar with the intricate breath test procedures.

What does Virginia’s “Implied Consent Law” mean for you?

  1. To acquire a Virginia driver’s license, you sign an agreement stating that if you are stopped by police under the suspicion of drinking or drugging while driving, you are obligated to submit to testing of your BAC.
  2. If you refuse to take the test (blood or breath), the police can charge you with “refusal,” which has civil penalties on the first offense, under which you can lose your license for a year with no restricted privileges. For multiple D.W.I. offenses, refusal becomes an additional criminal charge.
  3. A preliminary breath test is almost always given on the arrest scene, using a handheld  device called a PBT. This gives police probable cause to make the arrest. However, this initial BAC is not used in court because the strict breath test requirements of the Breathalyzer are not present.
  4. The legal BAC limit is .08 percent. If your BAC is over this amount there is a presumption under Virginia law that you are intoxicated for the purposes of driving a motor vehicle.
  5. Zero Tolerance Law means that for drivers under 21, there is no acceptable amount of alcohol.

Often, results of the breath test for BAC can be challenged. Christopher P. James has done this successfully for hundreds of clients in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and Fauquier Counties, as well as for residents of Alexandria, Falls Church and Warrenton. With decades of experience as a D.U.I. and D.W.I. attorney, Mr. James is familiar with the regulations and procedures that must be followed for Breathalyzer evidence to be admissible in court, often getting questionable test results thrown out.

Virginia Code outlines specific procedures for the breath test be admitted into evidence…

  1. The Breathalyzer machines often malfunction and need required maintenance.
  2. The Virginia Code requires strict procedures for maintenance, calibration and record keeping requirements. Christopher P. Jam will request the maintenance records, verifying if the machine used passes the test.
  3. A trained testing operator is required. They must comply with all written procedures.
  4. The test should be administered within 2 hours of the traffic stop.

Any variations from Virginia Code could result in your BAC results being inadmissible in court. Additionally,  Christopher P. James will inquire into your health, medication and dental history, all of which can affect test results. He leaves no stone unturned in fighting for his clients. With his help, failing the Breathalyzer does not mean an automatic D.U.I. conviction. Call today for a free strategy session that goes beyond a consultation, or visit the office most convenient to you, in Manassas near the Prince William County courthouse or Oakton/Vienna, near the Fairfax County courthouse.