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What is DWI Implied Consent in North Carolina?

Implied consent refers to legislation that requires suspected drunk drivers to consent to a chemical breath test of their blood alcohol content. Every state has some sort of implied consent statute on the books, all intended to prevent drunk driving and aid law enforcement in gathering evidence to establish the driver’s level of intoxication.

If you hold a North Carolina drivers license, you are bound under implied consent to submit to the official State breath test. At the time of your arrest, you may face two tests: the AlcoSensor test, which is preliminary and optional; and the official State breath test on the Intox EC/IR or Intoxilyzer 5000 machine. This test will be administered at the police station after your arrest.

Refusing the breath test is an option; however, the consequences for doing so are quite serious.

Consequences of a Refusal

A breath test refusal will result in both immediate and potentially long-term effects. Your license will be confiscated at the time of your arrest and your right to drive will be suspended for up to a year by the North Carolina DMV.

The details of your refusal will be added to the State’s case against you and will serve as an aggravating factor you if you are convicted of the DWI.

Is Implied Consent Fair?

Implied consent is not without controversy. Critics of the legislation see it as a form of intimidation wherein refusal is not a feasible option due to drastic consequences. What’s more, not all citizens are aware of implied consent or that they agreed to it upon accepting a North Carolina drivers license.

Whatever your opinion of implied consent may be, the fact remains that this legislation is here to stay. If you are facing a DWI and refused the State-administered test at the time of your arrest, it is essential that you work with experienced defense counsel who can help you fight to save your license.