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DWI Test Refusal

Like every other state in this country, North Carolina has implied consent laws that create a civil contract between the state and any licensed driver. This contract makes every driver agree that in exchange for receiving the privilege to drive in the state, he or she agrees that they will consent to a breathalyzer upon a DWI arrest. While refusing to do so has no criminal consequences, the DMV has a civil remedy to revoke the person’s driver’s license for one year.

For example, if an officer with the Raleigh Police Department pulls over a driver and suspects he or she has been drinking, the officer can charge the person with a DWI and ask to obtain a chemical analysis of their break.

North Carolina drivers do, however, have the right to refuse the test, but there could be consequences. In some cases, a driver would lose his or her driver's license for one year after refusing a chemical test. Sometimes the restrictions could be more severe. You have a right to a refusal hearing. At this hearing, you can challenge the DWI arrest itself and the actual willfulness of the refusal. An experience DWI attorney can often times have this refusal overturned.

Raleigh DWI Test Refusal Lawyer

If you were charged with drunk driving and refused a chemical test, contact an experienced Raleigh DWI defense attorney at Coolidge Law Firm. The process of keeping your license can be tough, but our attorneys can develop a strategy that results in the return of your driving privilege. Lawyers at Coolidge Law Firm have the skill and experience needed to fight for your rights.

Contact a Raleigh criminal defense attorney at (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation. Coolidge Law Firm represents clients facing DWI-related charges throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Wake Forest, Knightdale, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, and Garner.


Information on DWI Test Refusal


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Offenses Warranting DWI Chemical Tests

North Carolina has certain driving laws that deem some crimes as "implied consent" offenses. If you are arrested for any of those offenses you could be subjected to a chemical analysis, according to North Carolina General Statutes § 20-16.2.

Implied consent offenses include:


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Administering Chemical Tests after a DWI

The chemical testing can be done through a person's blood, urine or breath. The most common type of chemical analysis in North Carolina is the breath test. This test may be administered using a roadside preliminary or portable breath test (PBT) to establish impairment or it can be administered at a local police station or the Wake County Detention Center after a person has been arrested. 

Police officers use chemical testing to determine if drivers blood alcohol concentration or BAC. Officers a machine called the EC/IR II to determine a person’s BAC. The results can be used as evidence to convict a person of driving while impaired. The tests can be performed in several different ways, and law enforcement officers must follow strict guidelines.

For instance, the test must be administered by a “chemical analyst," which is a person who has been issued a permit by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Also, the chemical analyst must inform the driver of his or her rights orally and in writing.

If an officer fails to follow these procedures, the test results could be suppressed and lead to a verdict of not guilty or even a dismissal by the prosecution. Often times, the BAC is the most significant piece of evidence in making a case against someone accused of drunk driving.


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Rights Regarding Chemical Testing in North Carolina

In North Carolina, drivers have several rights regarding chemical testing after being arrested for an implied consent offense, including the right to call an attorney for advice. Drivers can ask for an attorney and a witness to view the testing, but the test cannot be delayed more than 30 minutes from the time an officer notifies the person of their right to have a witness present during testing.

Drivers also have the right to seek their own chemical test in addition to the police-performed test, after he or she is released. In most cases, after the arresting officer presents you to a magistrate, you will be released on a written promise to appear. When this occurs, your right to gather your own independent evidence of impairment has been preserved. However, in cases where your release is delayed, you may have an argument that your right to gather evidence has been violated. An experienced DWI defense attorney will explore every possible avenue of defense for a DWI charge.


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Possible Penalties for Refusing a DWI Chemical Test

North Carolina law presumes voluntarily declining to take the chemical test comes with the understanding that the refusal will result in the immediate suspension and ultimate revocation of the driver's license for one year.

If a driver refuses to submit to an Alco-Sensor portable breath test (PBT), he or she will not lose driving privileges unless convicted of a DWI Officer’s often use the PBT to determine probable cause to arrest in a DWI investigation. NO NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES will result from a refusal to blow into an officer’s request to perform a roadside portable breath test.

Refusal to submit a sample of their breath when requested on the Intox EC/IR II will result in a one year revocation of a person’s driver’s license.  

Even if an officer reports that you refused the chemical test, you have the right to challenge that refusal at a hearing before a DMV officer. A skilled DWI defense attorney can help you fight to keep your driving privileges.


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Finding the Best DWI Test Refusal Attorney in Wake County

If you have been arrested for a DWI and refused the chemical test, contact a Raleigh DWI defense lawyer at Coolidge Law Firm. Call (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation. Coolidge Law Firm will work with you to get the best possible outcome in your case.

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David Coolidge
David A. Coolidge
is heading up our team as criminal defense attorney and graduate at the top of his class from Duke University School of Law ...
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Steven MacGilvray
Steven P. MacGilvray
Steven P. MacGilvray is an Associate Attorney at Coolidge Law Firm, focusing primarily on Criminal Defense. Mr. MacGilvray graduated from Regent University School of Law ...
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Brent Blakesley
Brent Blakesley
manages the daily operations at Coolidge Law Firm. Brent graduated from Duke University in 2008 with a BA in Computer Science, BA in Linguistics ...
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