You don’t have to take a breathalyzer test, but there are consequences if you refuse it.
If you were pulled over, the officer may ask you to submit to a breath test if he suspects you may be driving under the impairment of alcohol. Depending on the type of test, you may or may not have to submit to it.
What Is The Difference Between a Portable Breath Test (PBT) & a Breathalyzer?
The PBT is a small handheld device the officer may give you on the side of the road. You can refuse this test, but do know refusal may be used against you in trial for DWI. A breathalyzer is a more complex machine, and this test is often given at the police station or jail. If you refuse this test, you will lose your license for one year under North Carolina law.
Should I Refuse the PBT?
Sure, but just know it can be used against you. In fact, you do not have to do any roadside tests at all, which can help when your attorney argues the police did not have probable cause to arrest you for driving while impaired.
Should I Refuse the Breathalyzer?
Probably not, but that’s ultimately up to you. If you refuse you will lose your license for a year and the officer may get a warrant to take your blood. The blood will be sent to the state crime lab where it will be tested for ethanol levels. The crime lab will then send the results back to the district attorney who will provide them to your defense lawyer.
What If I Have Nothing to Hide?
A lot of people think they have nothing to hide, or that submitting to all officer requests will help their case — it doesn’t necessarily. It always helps to be polite and cooperative, but you can refuse roadside tests (standard field sobriety tests a.k.a. SFSTs). Just make sure you know what you are refusing.
I Received a DWI — Now What?
You need an attorney. You should never ever try to handle a DWI by yourself. If you have a DWI in the Triangle area of NC, give me a call for a free consultation — (919) 880-2124.