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Refusing a chemical test in North Carolina

In North Carolina, anyone who is granted a driver's license implicitly agrees as a privilege of driving to submit to a chemical test if a police officer suspects the driver has been driving while intoxicated. It is a person's right to refuse to take a breath test in these situations. However, there are consequences for doing so.


First of all, per North Carolina law, a person has the right to speak to an attorney prior to deciding whether or not to submit to a chemical test, but the test may not be delayed by more than 30 minutes in these situations. After 30 minutes, the driver must decide whether or not to submit to a test.


A person has the right to refuse to take a chemical test if pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. However, refusing to submit to a chemical test may result in a one year revocation of one's driver's license. In addition, the fact that the driver refused to submit to a chemical test could be admissible as evidence if the person ends up going to trial on DUI charges.


That being said, in the case of refusal the police officer must inform the driver both in writing and orally that they will be charged with an criminal offense with regards to implied consent. In addition, the driver must be informed that if they decline to take a chemical test, they may face a driver's license revocation for one year or more depending on the circumstances.


As this shows, refusing to submit to a chemical test such as a breath test is not without consequences. One should carefully consider all their options and rights to determine whether breath test refusal is the right choice for them.

Source: ncleg.net, "Implied consent to chemical analysis; mandatory revocation of license in event of refusal; right of driver to request analysis," Accessed Feb. 25, 2015

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