Virginia Beach, VA- The son of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is facing legal troubles of his own after being arrested for driving while intoxicated in Virginia Beach last week.

Police arrested Robert Ryan McDonnell, 23, last Thursday after 3 a.m. near the vacation home owned by his parents. News Channel 3 reported that McDonnell failed field sobriety tests, but refused to submit to a breathalyzer.

McDonnell was arrested and charged with suspicion of driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breath test. The police report noted he was cooperative even though he refused a breath test.

This is the latest legal problem for the McDonnell family. In September, former Governor McDonnell and his wife Maureen were convicted on several counts of public corruption by a federal court, and are currently awaiting sentencing.

In the state of Virginia, refusing to submit to a breath or chemical test is a violation of the state’s implied consent law. Implied consent laws require every motorist who is issued a driver’s license to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical test if they are pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Refusing to submit to a breath or chemical test has its pros and cons. On one hand, refusing these tests can keep police from obtaining the proof of intoxication they need to secure a conviction for DWI. But, on the other hand, refusing a test carries it separate consequences. In Virginia, a refusal calls for a mandatory one-year suspension of a person’s driver’s license and fines.

In many cases, refusing a breath test doesn’t mean a person will avoid being convicted of DWI. Signs of intoxication on police reports can be enough evidence to secure a conviction and the charged individual risks conviction for both the DWI charge and the refusal charged. That means a person can face double the consequences.

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated, you should seek out a Virginia Beach DUI attorney immediately. You need someone with a strong track record and experience with the courts to help you avoid conviction.

A DWI conviction in Virginia can entail jail time, expensive fines, and a requirement to install an ignition interlock device if the offender’s blood alcohol is .15 or above and a suspension of the offender’s driver license. Penalties and fines double or triple for subsequent offenses and a conviction will remain on a person’s record

Many people charged with driving while intoxicated make the mistake of thinking they don’t need a Virginia DUI attorney working on their case. There is too much at stake for a person to try and handle a DWI charge on their own. Enlisting legal counsel gives a person the opportunity to challenge the charges and possibly beat conviction. It is possible to for an offender to get a plea bargain, but they need someone who knows how to negotiate with the prosecutors working on their case. Without a DWI defense, you may have to live with the consequences for years to come.