18 Sep

North Carolina residents who are subject to a drunk driving traffic stop may not know that they have the legal right to refuse a breath test while they are pulled over. Drivers who are stopped because of alcohol-related offenses may be asked to submit to a breath or blood test in connection with their DWI. These drivers may benefit from a breath test refusal, even though penalties for this decision may seem severe at the time.

What happens to my license if I refuse a breath test?

Drivers who refuse to submit to breathalyzer or blood tests are subject to an immediate 30-day revocation of their driver’s license. Taking quick action at this point is absolutely critical, as a team of legal professionals may be able to halt further actions against your license until an official hearing can be scheduled. Those who refuse to submit to a test may have their licenses revoked for up to a year, depending on the outcome of the hearing.

Can I still be convicted of drunk driving if I refuse the breath test?

Although the breathalyzer data may seem like the most critical component of a drunk driving case, convictions can still be obtained without that information. Police officers’ observations, video tapes and official reports can all be used as evidence against alleged drunk drivers in the state of North Carolina.

Is refusing a breath test a good idea?

This question is difficult to answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” In some cases, refusing a breath test may help drivers dodge additional penalties for drunk driving. In others, the decision may have a negative effect. The outcome of a drunk driving case depends on many factors, not the least of which is the competency and assertiveness of the defendant’s legal team.

Source: North Carolina Department of Public Safety, “Information Concerning Alcohol and Driving While Impaired” Sep. 17, 2014