Legality of Refusing a North Carolina Breath Test

Is it legal to refuse the breath test in North Carolina? There are a lot of misconceptions of whether or not you can refuse to blow in DWI cases. In North Carolina, you have the absolute statutory right to refuse to submit to implied consent breath tests. In fact, before a post-charge breath test can be lawfully given, the officer who requests you submit to the test must inform you of this right orally and in writing. In most cases there are two types of tests given: pre-charge tests and post-charge tests. All pre-charge tests conducted at the roadside can be refused without any license consequences. Before being charged with DWI, you do not have to and you should not answer any questions, participate in any field sobriety tests or blow into the hand-held breath test device. The only time that any refusal triggers a civil revocation of your drivers license is when you have already been charged with DWI and are requested to blow into the Intoximeter downtown. This request to blow is done under North Carolina’s implied consent law and a refusal carries with it a mandatory one-year civil revocation of your drivers privileges, even if you’re never ultimately convicted of DWI. After a refusal, the DMV mails a notification to the driver that their license will be revoked. You can retain your license by requesting a hearing within 10 days of the date of the notice. You do have a right to seek a limited privilege for the refusal, but only after your license has been revoked for six