In North Carolina, individuals who have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), must submit to the state’s “implied consent” law, which essentially means that if an officer has reason to believe someone was driving while intoxicated, it is implied that person consents to taking a chemical test through a blood test or a breathalyzer for the purpose of determining blood alcohol content (BAC). These tests must be administered at a relevant time, though the time is not specifically defined.
Refusing to take a chemical test in North Carolina has serious consequences.
What Happens if I Refuse to Take the Test?
After an officer arrests an individual, he or she should also inform that person or provide notice in writing that explains refusal of a chemical test will result in the loss of a driver’s license for at least 1 year. It is also a person’s right to speak with an attorney and to have a witness while the test is being administered.
Penalties for Refusal
First time offenders might face a 1 year of license suspension. However, there are no statutory provisions that state the penalties for subsequent offenses. It is possible for first time offenders to get limited driving privileges after having completed 6 months of the 1 year suspension penalty, though it does not apply to those who have killed or seriously injured an individual.
Refusing to take a blood or breath test will not help an individual who is arrested. Usually, a first DWI offense will result in payment of a fine, community service, and possibly jail time, though the severity of these punishments greatly depend on how high the BAC was, if an accident was caused by drunk driving, and one’s overall driving record. While the penalties of a DWI conviction are more severe than a 1 year license suspension, refusal to take the test does not guarantee that a person will not be found guilty. In fact, prosecution can use a person’s refusal as evidence, claiming that the test was refused because the person knew it would indicate intoxication.
Those who have been arrested on a DWI charge in North Carolina should seek help from an experienced DWI attorney. It is easy for prosecution to trample over an individual’s rights if proper legal representation is not present, and this is not a fight anyone should go through without help.
Raleigh DWI Defense Attorneys: Fighting for You In & Out of Court
A DWI is a serious charge, which can deeply affect a person’s life if convicted. At Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, our trusted legal advocates work for you, helping you understand every step of the process, so you are not left out of the loop in your own defense. Our firm offers understanding, a chance to get your driving privileges back, representation tailored to your needs, efficient legal care, and advocacy that never settles. Many law firms focus on reducing charges, giving up before a fight even begins. We are focused on a “not guilty” verdict and will not give up on any client we represent.
With over 50 years of experience, you can trust that our Raleigh criminal defense lawyers will work swiftly to get you back on the road with a driving privilege. We know how important your freedom and future are to you, which is why we treat each client with the compassion and respect they deserve, and will never back down from a complex issue. You deserve the best, so do not hesitate to contact us.