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What is the Difference in Refusing a Breath Test Before and After Arrest?

Being under investigation for Driving While Impaired in North Carolina is not only serious but a nerve-wracking time as well. It is important for you to know and understand your rights while this is occurring. Knowing and understanding your rights can give you the best opportunity for a favorable outcome. We have seen people falsely accused of Driving While Impaired following their consent to certain tests a law enforcement office administers.

Can I Refuse Any of These Tests?

According to the 5th Amendment of the Constitution, no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” You have the right to refuse, but whether you should refuse is another question entirely.

Refusing a Breath Test on the Side of the Road

By participating in a road side breath test—or any of the standardized field sobriety tests—you are helping the State of North Carolina gather evidence against you. You are unknowingly being a witness against yourself. There are no adverse consequences to refusing this test—unlike refusing one at the station after an arrest.

The only thing that can happen with a refusal is that a law enforcement officer can testify that you refused.

Refusing a Breath or Blood Test at the Station After Arrest

This type of refusal has serious consequences for you and your driver’s license. Refusing a breath or blood test at the station after an arrest will lead to a one (1) year suspension of your driver’s license. Furthermore, you cannot receive a driving privilege to drive back and forth from work, school, the grocery store, or pick your children up from school for six (6) months.

There are ways to challenge this one (1) year suspension but they are very uncommon and usually involve a mistake by the law enforcement officer. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced attorney, like those at Greenwood Law, to know exactly what to look for in these cases.

If you are charged with a crime like this, please contact Greenwood Law at 336-661-8788 or visit our online contact form and we will work hard to obtain the best possible outcome for you.

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