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North Carolina's implied consent law: applicable to all motorists

When hearing the term “implied consent,” some North Carolina drivers likely know exactly what it means and what the consequences can be for failure to give the referenced consent that is mandated under state statutory laws.

A good many drivers, though, are just as likely to lack solid understanding of the state’s implied consent law that pertains to police officers’ prerogatives in traffic stops.

Here’s a quick primer, which we track in today’s post from an article on our website discussing implied consent and driving under the influence of alcohol. As we noted therein, a prerequisite to every motorist’s receipt of a driver’s license in North Carolina is his or her agreement to be chemically tested in certain instances. A police officer must have reasonable grounds for believing that an “implied consent offense” has been committed before seeking to administer a breath or blood test.

What exactly does that mean?

In most cases, it means that an officer reasonably suspects that a motorist is impaired by alcohol. Where an officer has probable cause to believe that such is the case, he or she can demand that a motorist submit to testing.

And, indeed, the law requires that a driver do so. In fact, failure to submit to testing carries heavy consequences, chiefly these:

  • Automatic license suspension of a year or more (regardless of whether a conviction is subsequently obtained)
  • Evidence of refusal being admissible in a criminal proceeding

Motorists should note that, while refusal to submit to testing carries obviously onerous penalties, those exactions can sometimes be challenged in a hearing before the state Department of Motor Vehicles. A proven DWI/DUI defense attorney can provide relevant details and diligent representation focused upon mitigating adverse consequences of a refusal to the fullest extent possible.

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