What happens if you refuse a breath test?

Most people know that taking a breath test at a traffic stop can show that they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit. This knowledge may leave you to wonder whether you can refuse the breath test in order to avoid drunk driving penalties.

Are you allowed to refuse a breath test?

If an officer pulls you over and asks you to take a breath test, you may wonder if you can refuse that test. The simple answer is that, yes, you are allowed to refuse a breath test to measure your BAC. However, that refusal to submit will come with consequences.

What happens if you refuse to take the test?

While you do have the right to refuse a breath test, North Carolina’s implied consent laws impose a variety of penalties on you. These penalties include:

  • Driver’s license revocation—If you refuse to take any drug test when an officer asks, your license will immediately be revoked for 30 days.
  • Implied consent offense charges—After the opportunity for a separate hearing to address your breath test refusal, the court will revoke your license for an additional year. This revocation will remain in effect even if the court does not find you guilty of drunk driving.

These penalties are in addition to any penalties you may face for the drunk driving charges.

While it is your right to refuse a breath test, it is essential that you consider how the revocation of your driver’s license will impact your life and carefully weigh your options before refusing the officer’s request.

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