What does implied consent mean in North Carolina?

Driving along the North Carolina roads, the police may stop you and request that you take a breath test. It is a request, not an order, and you have the right to refuse the test. However, refusal has consequences, and they may not be worth it. 

The state has implied consent laws that may affect you during a traffic stop. 

Implied consent 

The North Carolina General Assembly explains that when you drive a vehicle in the state you automatically consent to a chemical analysis should an officer determine you need one. With reasonable grounds, the officer can have you tested even if you are unconscious. 

The officer must follow certain procedures before having you tested. The offense you committed must fall under the implied consent law such as driving under the influence of alcohol. Then you must appear before an authorized chemical analyst. Many police officers have the training and authorization to perform the test. 

Chemical analysis refusal 

The law penalizes breath test refusal. One of the more serious consequences is the revocation of your driver’s license. This lasts one year for most offenses. 

Under some circumstances, you can apply for the reinstatement of your license after six months. Circumstances that apply include offenses with no injuries to others, no prior offenses within the preceding seven years and disposal of the implied-consent charge. 

A subsequent refusal of chemical analysis for an implied consent offense can result in more severe consequences. Time frames for license revocation can extend the one-year length, especially if there was an injury or death related to the charge. 

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