Sobriety Test Refusal

What’s up? I’m attorney Derek Gray of McMinn, Logan & Gray. We are a criminal law firm located in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and this is our FAQ series.

Today’s question is also going to deal with driving while impaired, or DWI charges for short. The question is: If I’ve been charged with a DWI, what will happen if I refuse the blood or breath test?

North Carolina Law: Sobriety Test Refusal and License Suspension

First and foremost, we always start with North Carolina law. And this case is going to be North Carolina general statute 20-16.2, which deals with refusals. In a situation where you are offered a breath test and you decide to refuse it, separate and apart from the criminal charge, the DMV will suspend your license for one year if they deem the officer to have reasonable grounds to believe that you committed an implied consent offense.

“Reasonable grounds” is the same as probable cause. Again, be aware that this is separate and apart from the criminal charge of a DWI offense. You don’t have to be convicted of it. This can happen during the process—just being charged with the DWI.

The cases can end up being dismissed – after the fact you can be found not guilty – and your license will still be revoked for a year.

Is Your License Reinstated After a DWI Dismissal?

There is a process by which you can have a DMV hearing in order to fight against the license suspension or revocation. Remember that the officer is claiming you refused.

There are a few situations in which a DWI stop will be logged as a sobriety test refusal:

  • Certain mannerisms
  • You don’t blow fully
  • You didn’t blow hard enough to get a result.

That’s something you can do a DMV hearing about and actually try to fight it and get the DMV to overturn that yearlong DWI suspension.

But the long and short of it is, if you refuse a blood or breath test and the state and the officer have reasonable grounds to believe that you committed an implied consent offense, your license will be suspended for one year.

Contact a Winston-Salem Criminal Defense Lawyer

I hope this answers your question about sobriety test refusal in North Carolina. I wanted to keep it short and sweet, but feel free to check out the statute. If you have any follow up or further questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. You all take care.

Author Bio

Derek M. Gray

Derek Gray is a Partner of McMinn, Logan & Gray, a North Carolina criminal defense law firm. With more than 15 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Derek received his Juris Doctor from the North Carolina Central School of Law in 2007 and is a member of the North Carolina State Bar Association. With his experience as a former Assistant District Attorney, he has represented more than 1,000 criminal defense clients in North Carolina and received more than 100 5-star Google ratings.

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