PLEASE NOTE: Our office remains open at this time. To protect your safety in response to the threat of COVID-19, we are offering our clients and potential clients the ability to meet with us via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options. 

Attorney photo

Let Us Do The Worrying For You

What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer?

In North Carolina, you have rights during your interactions with police officers. In the case of a DWI stop, one of those rights is refusing to submit to chemical testing. However, if you do not take the test, there are some automatic consequences you could face.

Before you read this, you should know that these consequences are independent of any criminal penalties you incur. The traffic stop and the case associated with it are two different concerns. Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer does not automatically result in a conviction.

One of the first consequences of a willful refusal is likely to be a suspension of your driver’s license. The court would issue a civil suspension that lasts one year or longer. While you could possibly get your driving privileges back earlier, you would usually only be eligible to do so after six months.

Depending upon your situation, especially on your criminal history with respect to DWI, there would be different results for the various choices you could make. It is important to take this into account when making your decision as to whether you should submit to a breathalyzer.

As mentioned on FindLaw, you could have an attorney present for the test. However, if your attorney were not able to arrive in time, this could count as a willful refusal to submit to testing. The time limit is 30 minutes, but there is a possibility for some extenuating circumstances.

As mentioned above, you should base your choice on whether to submit to a test on your legal history and your current situation. No two situations are the same, so please do not use this as legal advice. It is only meant as general information.