During a DWI stop, a police officer can request that you undergo a chemical analysis to determine if you are intoxicated. Typically, this means blowing into a breathalyzer or some other device to determine what your Blood Alcohol Count (BAC) is. In North Carolina, under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16.2(a), all drivers are considered to have given “implied consent” in order to have the right to drive in North Carolina. Implied consent means that as a part of being able to drive a vehicle in North Carolina, you have given permission to law enforcement to test your BAC through chemical analysis.
However, just because North Carolina’s laws state that you have given your implied consent, does not mean that you have to take a chemical test. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16.2(a)(1), an individual may refuse a chemical analysis. However, this right does comes with a punishment. If an individual refuses a chemical analysis, they are immediately subject to revocation of their license for thirty days plus a minimum revocation of their license of one year by the DMV, regardless of the outcome of your DWI trial. This refusal is also admissible as evidence in court for your DWI trial.
Although refusing a chemical analysis results in revocation of your driver’s license, this refusal may be a strategically smart move to aid your defense during your DWI trial. By refusing a chemical analysis, you avoid giving the prosecutor any hard, scientific evidence of any potential impairment. As such, the prosecutor must rely on less reliable and more subjective evidence of intoxication like the officer’s testimony, field sobriety test results, or the behavior and state of the individual. Since these indicators are subject to interpretation and explanation, they may result in a higher potential of a dismissal of DWI charges.
In certain situations, police may still be able to have an individual undergo chemical analysis even with a refusal. If an officer obtains a warrant, an individual can be made to undergo a blood test, regardless of a refusal. Additionally, an unconscious person is not considered to have refused a test simply because they are not conscious to voice any objections. These situations are not considered a violation of your Constitutional rights due to prior judicial decisions establishing these actions.
If you have been charged with a DWI, don’t hesitate to Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation. We will fight your case with all the available resources at our disposal.