With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be planning celebrations with your family and friends. If your plans include alcohol, you must be careful not to drive with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08%. Otherwise, you may find yourself in handcuffs on suspicion of driving while impaired.
To stop your vehicle, officers typically need reasonable suspicion you are violating some provision of law. If officers believe your BAC may be over the legal limit, they are likely to ask you to breathe into a testing device. You have already consented to this type of test.
Your implied consent
Like many other states in the U.S., North Carolina has an implied consent law. This law operates on the theory that you do not have to drive on roadways in the Tar Heel State. If you choose to do so, though, you automatically consent to chemical testing of your breath or blood.
Officers cannot force a testing device into your mouth, of course. They also cannot force you to exhale. Still, because of the implied consent law, there are consequences for refusing to provide a breath or blood sample for testing. Specifically, for a first-time refusal, you are likely to lose your driving privileges for at least a year.
Refusing to take a breath test may be beneficial if you have been drinking, as prosecutors are likely to use the test’s results against you to secure a conviction. Nevertheless, prosecutors do not necessarily need a failed breath test. That is, they may use other types of evidence, such as the officer’s testimony, to hold you legally responsible for driving while impaired.
Ultimately, if an officer wants you to take a breath test, you must carefully weigh the pros and cons of agreeing to the test.