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Consequences of a DWI in North Carolina


If you are arrested for DWI in North Carolina, you should be aware that if you consent to a blood test, the arresting officer can decide whether your blood should be tested for alcohol or drugs. The officer must also follow the statutory procedures for obtaining your consent to a chemical analysis of your breath or blood by advising you of certain rights.

These include that:

1) you have the right to refuse the test, but that such a refusal will result in immediate license revocation of 30 days and, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, an additional 12 month revocation.

2) a breath test result of .08 will result in an automatic 30 day suspension.

3) you have the right to contact an attorney and have a witness present to observe the breath testing procedures, provided that the testing will not be delayed for more than 30 minutes), and

4) that you have the right to seek an independent alcohol test—in addition to that ordered by the officer—upon release.

Under certain circumstances, your blood can be drawn without your consent. A Magistrate can issue a Search Warrant authorizing the arresting officer to take you to a hospital to have your blood drawn by a registered nurse or other qualified person. An exception to consent or a Search Warrant exists when a warrant can’t be obtained in time to draw the blood from an impaired driving suspect without his or her consent. A Charlotte DUI lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for an exception.

Whether by consent or pursuant to a Search Warrant, your blood sample will be sent to a lab and tested for alcohol, or if suspected, one or more impairing drugs. If you are arrested by a Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department officer, your blood will be analyzed in their own crime lab. If you are arrested by another law enforcement agency such as the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Mint Hill, Matthews or Pineville police departments, your blood will  be tested by the State Bureau of Investigation. Many law enforcement agencies in surrounding counties such as Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Rowan, Stanley and Union also send their blood kits to the State Bureau of Investigation.

If the officer suspects that you are under the influence of drugs, your blood will be subjected to a 6 panel screening for amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine. The test will determine whether your blood contains the metabolites for such prescription medications as Ambien, Dilaudid, Klonopin, Prozac, Valium, Vicodin, Zoloft and other common controlled substances that may impair driving. These medications may cause blurred vision, dizziness, inattentiveness, sleepiness.

Unlike alcohol with a .08 limit, North Carolina does not yet have a legal limit for the quantity of an impairing substance in your system. If you’ve been charged with a DWI for a drug-related instance, take no hesitation in contacting your local Charlotte DUI lawyer at Morgan Law. He and our associates are prepared to handle your case with over 36 years of experience. Contact our office today to discuss your case and determine what is the next best step.