When the police are investigating a potential Driving While Impaired case in North Carolina, they typically will request that the driver submits to a “chemical analysis” to determine that person’s blood alcohol content. While the most common form of chemical analysis is a breath test, the police have the option to request a blood test instead. This can be used not only to determine a person’s blood alcohol content, but can also be used to screen for the presences of other impairing substances such as recreational drugs or prescription medications.
While the procedures involved in obtaining a blood sample are obviously different than when taking a breath test, the legal rules are generally the same. A person has the right to refuse to submit to a blood test just as they can refuse to take a breath test, and the penalties for doing so are the same. Understand that the results of a blood test would only be one piece of the puzzle that the prosecution must assemble in order to convict somebody of DWI. But at the same time, those results would be very important evidence if admitted against you in court.
If you have submitted to a blood test, contact our experienced DWI attorneys by calling (910) 405-8459 to schedule a consultation. Our DWI lawyers have extensive experience defending DWI charges. Blood test cases can present several issues that are not present in other types of DWI cases, and there may be several strategies to employ to defend you in such a matter.
Penalties for Refusing a Blood Test in North Carolina
North Carolina’s implied consent law means that a person who is under suspicion of impaired driving must submit to chemical analysis of their breath or blood. Of course, you have the right to refuse to provide this consent, but if you willfully refuse to consent to a blood test you will lose your privilege to drive in the state for one year. This is the same rule as applies to refusing a breath test, and the suspension for a refusal would apply regardless of whether you are ultimately convicted of a DWI charge.
In addition to the suspension of your driving privilege, the fact that you refused the blood test can be used as evidence against you in court. The decision as to whether to submit to a blood test can be a complicated one. On one hand, if you have consumed a lot of alcohol or have some other impairing substance in your body, then you might not want that evidence to come out in court. Also, if a blood test is done, you may be forced to pay for the cost of that testing as part of your court costs (which can add hundreds of dollars to what you ultimately have to pay if you are convicted).
The law gives you the right to consult with an attorney prior to deciding whether or not to submit to a breath or a blood test. You have up to 30 minutes to reach an attorney or another witness of your choice prior to deciding whether to take the test, so if you are faced with a demand that you submit to a blood test it would be wise to try to reach a lawyer for guidance on what to do. But regardless of your decision, if you have been charged with a DWI please contact our office to discuss your legal options so we can begin planning a strong defense to the case against you.
Search Warrants and Other Involuntary Blood Tests
There are situations where you may not be able to refuse a blood test. Officers are allowed to apply for a search warrant for a sample of your blood. If a magistrate judge issues such a search warrant then the police are permitted to compel you to submit to a blood test. This happens most commonly in cases where somebody has refused to take a breath test. Unfortunately, if this happens, you may end up with the worst of both situations. You will still be punished for refusing the breath test with the loss of your driving privilege, and you will then still be looking at the evidence that results from the chemical analysis being used against you in court.
Another scenario involves situations where the person suspected of DWI is unconscious or otherwise incapable of giving their consent to the blood test. In those situations the implied consent law authorizes the law enforcement to draw blood without obtaining explicit consent.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville DWI Attorney
“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”
The Trevor J. Avery Law Firm, LLP is a full-service Jacksonville Criminal and Civil law firm that is committed to providing results-driven legal representation to businesses and individuals seeking an alternative to large-firm representation. We focus on getting you the results you want while offering you a cost-effective solution to your legal needs. We understand that we work for our clients; therefore; our attorneys communicate regularly with each client to ensure that the client knows what is going on with the case.
When you have legal problems, you need an experienced legal professional in your corner. No matter the case, you should have an attorney working for you who knows the law and who has the experience to get results. We represent clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 405-8459 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.