Implied consent in North Carolina

One of the most stressful situations for drivers on the road is having the police pull you over. There are many reasons that a police officer may pull someone over, but suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most serious. Because of this, there are severe consequences for the actions. Many North Carolina residents report driving after drinking too much, which is why it is important to know about implied consent.

One of the first things an officer will do when you are pulled over due to suspicion of a DWI is ask you to take a breathalyzer test. If you refuse, you are going against North Carolina’s implied consent law. What is this?

What is implied consent?

North Carolina law states that any person who is driving in a public area has given consent to a chemical analysis of their blood, breath or urine. If a police officer believes that you are over the legal intoxication limit when they pull you over, they have a right to ask you to take a chemical test, often in the form of a breathalyzer.

What if you refuse?

Because of the implied consent law, there are hefty penalties for refusing a breath, blood or urine test when you are under suspicion of a DWI. Your license will likely be revoked for a year. Depending your charges, this type of consequence could be heavier than if you took the test and they found you guilty.

Police may also obtain a warrant to take chemical testing anyway, so it may be unwise to refuse. It is important to note that if you refuse and they find that you are, in fact, intoxicated, a judge can use your refusal against you as evidence in court.

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