Can I Be Charged with a DWI If I Refuse a Blood Test?
Being charged with driving while impaired (DWI) is a harrowing experience. Many drivers are afraid to incriminate themselves, but it’s important to understand your rights. If you are arrested for DWI and refuse a blood test, you should be aware that there are serious consequences even if you aren’t convicted.
If you have been charged with DWI in Charlotte, don’t let the prosecution tell you that you should just plead guilty. Contact a DWI defense attorney who knows the law, and who will fight for you to obtain a fair result. At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have the knowledge and experience to help you through this challenging time. To schedule a free consultation of your case, contact us today at (980) 237-4579.
Implied Consent in NC
When you’re pulled over for DWI, law enforcement will attempt to administer a breathalyzer, a blood test, or both to measure the extent of your intoxication. North Carolina is what is referred to as an implied consent state. North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) § 20-16.2 states that anyone who drives on any road or highway in the state of North Carolina “thereby gives consent to a chemical analysis” when suspected of drunk driving. In the eyes of the law, therefore, you have agreed to submit to a blood test by simply driving on the roads in North Carolina.
While this may sound unfair, you do have rights and can refuse to take a blood test. Prior to administering the test, the officer must advise you of the following:
- You have the right to refuse the test, but refusal will result in an automatic revocation of your driver’s license.
- If you take the test and it results in a BAC of .08 percent or higher, there will be an automatic revocation of your driver’s license of at least 30 days.
- You have the right to contact an attorney and have a witness observe the testing procedures, so long as it does not delay the test by more than 30 minutes.
- You have the right to seek an independent blood test in addition to the one performed by the police once you are released from custody.
Once the officer has advised you of these rights, they will have you sign a form acknowledging that you were advised of your rights and the potential consequences of the test. If the officer failed to advise you of these rights or have you sign the form, the results of the blood test may not be allowed into evidence.
What Happens if You Refuse?
If you refuse to take a blood test after hearing your rights, be aware that there are serious consequences. Refusing to take the blood test results in an automatic 12-month suspension of your driver’s license. However, you do have the right to a DMV hearing in order to challenge the suspension. In addition, you may also be able to petition the court for limited driving privileges six months into the 12-month suspension.
More importantly, it’s critical to understand that the suspension for refusing the blood test will remain in effect even if you are acquitted or the DWI charges are dropped.
You can still be charged with a DWI if you refuse a blood test. The police officer can use additional evidence against you to prove that you are impaired. However, they will not have a chemical test as evidence. Thus, their case may be slightly weaker as a result. When considering whether or not to take a blood test, you should carefully evaluate what happens if you refuse.
Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys – Charlotte DWI Defense Attorneys
If you refuse a blood test, you will suffer from a number of consequences. The criminal justice system is complex and difficult for non-lawyers to navigate, and a simple mistake can leave you with very limited options. North Carolina’s implied consent law works to the prosecution’s advantage. You can level the playing field by hiring an experienced Charlotte DWI attorney from Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys.