do i have to take a breath test

Do I Have to Take a Breath Test for a DWI in North Carolina?

Being stopped on suspicion of drinking while impaired (“DWI”) can be a distressing experience. The panic may cause you to make uninformed decisions that seemingly help you to avoid a charge. For example, you may consider refusing drug testing at the stop or the station if you have been arrested. However, drug test refusal has serious consequences that can make your situation worse.

Your Rights and Consequences

At the stop, an officer cannot force you to take a breath test for a DWI because it is your right to refuse drug testing. While you have a legal right to refuse, it is not in your best interests to refuse a preliminary breath test and a chemical drug test.

Preliminary Breath Test

Initially, the officer will need to determine your blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) using a portable or preliminary breath test (“PBT”). This portable test is administered at the location of the stop using a handheld device. Refusal to take the PBT may factor into the officer’s decision to arrest you. For example, if you were driving erratically, swerving, weaving, plus your refusal, are grounds for the officer to arrest you on suspicion of a DWI.

Chemical Drug Test

At the station, you will be subjected to additional testing—a chemical Breathalyzer and/or blood test, which are more accurate, and the results will be used in court.

After arrest and prior to the chemical testing, you must be advised under North Carolina’s implied consent law of your rights and consequences of refusal.

While your refusal will not result in criminal charges, it will negatively impact your driving privileges.


There are critical consequences to consider if you are refusing to take the breath drug test. These include:

  • an immediate thirty-day license revocation;
  • an additional one-year license revocation is imposed even if you are found not guilty;
  • your drug test refusal is admissible into evidence at trial, which can seriously impact the outcome of your case.


Seek a North Carolina DWI Attorney to Defend You

An experienced DWI attorney familiar with North Carolina DWI laws and with experience in defending DWI cases can collect and examine the facts and determine possible defenses and your legal options. For example, if the officer tested you without providing you with your implied consent advisement, then you may be able to suppress the BAC test results.

Contact a North Carolina DWI Attorney Today!

If you have been stopped on suspicion of a DWI or arrested based on your drug test results, you need a North Carolina licensed attorney with extensive experience in DWI cases to defend you against charges. The experienced attorneys at King Law Firm are ready to stand by your side and help you navigate the legal process. Don’t delay; give us a call today at (800) 635-1683.