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What happens when you refuse a breath test in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When a North Carolina law enforcement officer stops your vehicle after you have been drinking, you may feel extremely anxious, even if you do not believe you consumed enough alcohol to put you over the legal limit. If you are hesitant to take a breath test at the officer’s request, you should understand what happens if you decide not to submit to one. 

Per the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, the results of your breath test often undergo use in court to determine whether you should receive a conviction for driving while intoxicated. 

Penalties for refusing a breath test

If you decide to refuse an officer’s request to take a breath test, you lose your driver’s license immediately, and the revocation lasts for 30 days. Then, once you have a hearing, your driver’s license typically again undergoes revocation for another year from that date. If you wind up not receiving a conviction for DWI, you may still have to surrender your license for one year due to your refusal to submit to the breath test. 

Limited driving privileges

Depending on circumstances, you may be able to secure limited driving privileges after you refuse to take a breath test. However, you would not be able to get limited driving privileges until your license has undergone revocation for at least six months. 

All DWI cases are different, and the results of each case vary broadly based on numerous variables. However, a judge may have a harder time handing down a guilty verdict without a breath test that shows clear evidence of impairment. Please contact our firm for more information.