Can I refuse a Breathalyzer?

Although the answer can vary by state, in many cases, a refusal is itself a criminal or civil violation subject to stiff penalties.  In addition, if the DWI case is proven against you, there may be additional penalties imposed beyond those for the drunk driving offense.

In North Carolina, refusing to take a breathalyzer test does not carry criminal penalties, but there is the implied consent offense of DWI. 

By applying for a driver’s license a driver enters into a civil contract with the DMV and agrees that he will consent to a breathalyzer if arrested for DWI.  The remedy is a civil action by the DMV against the driver which involves a one year suspension of the person’s driver’s license.

Once you are arrested, the officer should tell you and give you notice in writing that you will lose your license for at least one year if you refuse to take a test. The officer must also tell you that you have certain rights, including that you could get an additional test if you choose to submit to the first one, and you have the right to speak with an attorney and to have a witness with you while the test is taken. 

Please contact us to speak with one of our experienced DWI lawyers about your case.

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