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DWI Breathalyzer Refusal Hearing in North Carolina

Because North Carolina has implied consent statutes on the books, refusing the State-administered breathalyzer test at the time of your arrest will seriously complicate your DWI case. By law, all licensed drivers who operate vehicles on North Carolina public roadways have implied to consent to a chemical test of their blood alcohol content if the police has probable cause to believe that the driver is intoxicated. So what happens if you refuse to blow? Will your driving privileges be stripped forever?

Consequences of a Refusal

The consequences of refusing the breathalyzer are very strict in our state. Before your case even heads to court, your license will automatically be suspended for one year, simply as a result of your refusal. If you are convicted of a second or subsequent DWI and have a prior refusal on your record, your license suspension will be extended.

Refusal Hearing Proceedings

Although the consequences of a refusal are immediate and long lasting—especially if you are convicted of a DWI—many people decline to blow or, in some cases, are unable to do so because of medical reasons. As a result, you may request a refusal hearing six months after your license revocation has begun. Note that if your conviction was at a Level 3 or higher, you will need to wait 45 days before applying for the hearing.

The purpose of a refusal hearing is for the defendant to show the court that you are sober and responsible enough to be granted limited driving privileges that will make it possible for you to go to and from school or work. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who can not only request the hearing on your behalf, but who can represent you during the proceedings. You only have one chance to request limited driving privileges—hiring experienced legal counsel is essential.