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.