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Refusing the Breathalyzer and License Suspension in a North Carolina DWI

When you are pulled over on suspicion of a DWI in North Carolina, you will more than likely be asked to submit to a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol level. Like every other state, North Carolina has an implied consent law on the books that mandates that any driver operating a vehicle on a public roadway must agree to have his or her blood alcohol content tested if they are arrested for a DWI. Implied consent also requires that the police officer who stopped you must have evidence to support the belief (or probable cause) that you were intoxicated in order to place you under arrest and then require the breath, blood or urine test. Although implied consent is the law of the land, it is still possible for you to refuse to take the test. Your refusal, however, will be met with serious consequences.

Refusing and Your Drivers License

If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test at the time of your arrest, your license will be automatically revoked and suspended for 30 days, followed by a one-year suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles if you are convicted of or plead guilty to a DWI charge. Your refusal may also result in substantial fines.

It is important to understand that the loss of your license due to a breathalyzer refusal—otherwise known as an administrative suspension—can and will be imposed on top of any license-related penalties you will face in the criminal portion of your case. If you are convicted of or plead guilty to a DWI, you may lose your license for an additional 60 days to four years, depending on the number of prior DWIs you have on your record. If you have received three DWIs within a five-year period, you stand to lose your license permanently.

Provisional Driving Privileges

Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to establish limited driving privileges that will enable you to get to and from work or school. There are specific and time-sensitive steps that must be taken in order to begin these proceedings. It is best to work with an experienced attorney who understands the complicated landscape of applying for a provisional license.

Is It Best to Refuse the Test?

Refusing the breathalyzer will result in various immediate and long-range penalties related to your drivers license. If you are facing a DWI charge and refused the breath test at the time of your arrest, a local DWI defense lawyer can help.