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A Leading, Award-Winning Law Firm In North Carolina

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Can I refuse a Breathalyzer test when pulled over in N.C.?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | DUI Defense

You’re driving home one night in North Carolina and you get pulled over. For whatever reason, the police officer asks you to take a Breathalyzer test.

Your reaction to the request might be to refuse the test. After all, you are in America, and the Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination, right? You may also think that by refusing to yield to chemical testing, the police would have no evidence to use against you in court and that you should just stick to your guns. 

Well, it’s not as simple as that. Here’s what you need to know: 

North Carolina is an implied consent state

Legally speaking, it is important to understand that driving in North Carolina, like in any other state is a privilege, not a right. This privilege is granted under certain conditions, such as passing the driving test and operating a vehicle in a responsible manner without endangering your life as well as other road users. You are also deemed, by accepting a license, to have given your “implied consent” for a chemical breath test when warranted.

Consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test

Even though implied consent laws are applicable, you can still refuse to take the Breathalyzer test. However, it is important to understand that refusal to take the Breathalyzer test comes with its share of consequences regardless of whether you are convicted of DUI or not. 

Here are the potential consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test in North Carolina:

  • Immediate suspension of your driver’s license
  • Fines and other penalties
  • Increased insurance rates

Refusing to take a Breathalyzer test can cost you in the long run. If you have been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, it is important that you avoid taking actions that can hurt your case.