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Implied consent applies to highways, Virginia Supreme Court rules

Imagine falling asleep in your parked car in a parking lot. You had too much to drink, so instead of driving, you decided to sleep it off in your vehicle where you could be safe and also not put others at risk. Then, a police officer comes upon you, and he attempts to give you a breath test. Is there any reason you should give a sample to the officer?

That was the question the Virginia Supreme Court had to consider recently. Presently, the implied consent law extends to highways, and it allows officers to seek breath samples from any driver pulled over on those roadways. The court did not agree, however, that parking lots should be considered to be highways.

Why does that make a difference? In this case, it means that the man who was sleeping in his parked car in an apartment complex can have the evidence of his intoxication thrown out. When he was arrested, the man had been asleep in his running vehicle. The officer woke him up and took him to the police station. The man refused a breath test, and his license was revoked for one year.

He and his attorney appealed the case. They claimed that implied consent did not apply in this case, because the man was on private property. The charges against him were dropped, and he was able to resume driving legally.

If something like this happens to you, you can defend yourself. Your attorney can help make it clear that you were not violating the law, so you can get back to your normal life.

Source: The Newspaper, "Virginia Supreme Court Says A Private Parking Lot Is Not A Highway," April 28, 2017

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