W & OD Trail Driver in Vienna Refused to Submit to Breath Test Required by Virginia DWI Law

A McLean woman was arrested on June 1, 2013 for allegedly striking a bicyclist with her car after she drove her car onto the Washington & Old Dominion Trail last weekend. While being arrested, she apparently lied to police by telling them that she had come from Mexico on the evening of the incident. She is also facing an additional charge for refusing to submit to the implied consent law, which requires all drivers to submit to a sobriety test using a blood alcohol testing machine under Virginia law.

According to Police, Mehak Chopra, 28, appeared extremely intoxicated, refused a breath test and was unable to complete a field sobriety test after she was pulled over in Vienna. Police use several methods to test for alcohol use by apparently inebriated. The so-called “Breath Test” is administered at the police station during an arrest for DUI. It requires that the driver wait 20 minutes without belching before blowing into a sample tube, that determines the content of alcohol in a person’s system. The test must be administered within four hours of arrest. Any level over .08 is presumed to indicate an intoxicated state, and guilt under the law prohibiting driving under the influence of alcohol in Virginia.

Police also use physical coordination tests to determine a person’s state of intoxication or sobriety. These tests include counting backwards, touching a finger to the nose while leaning backward or standing on one leg, and other tests used to determine the ability to control physical coordination. People under the influence often get angry, frustrated, or just fail to perform the test properly when inebriated. The police note all unusual responses to the tests as evidence of intoxication.

Another frequently used test is known as a “Preliminary Breath Test” which is not admissible of guilt in Court, but is used by the police to see if a driver stopped on suspicion of DUI has elevated alcohol levels in their bloodstream. This test, while not as accurate, and not specially calibrated by testing technicians, is often the first indication that police receive of a person’s inebriation. Of course, simple characteristics such as odor of alcohol, glassy or poorly focused eyes, slurred speech, and unstable gait, are also admissible indications of a person’s sobriety or intoxication.