Often many that refuse to take the test are coerced into doing so by a standard threat that both police officers and the courts will attempt to use to make you take the breathalyzer: any refusal to take a test to establish your ability to drive will result in you losing your driver’s license for one year.
It is easy to understand why many choose to blow into a breathalyzer than lose their driver’s license for a year over an immediate and arbitrary penalty, but even if you do agree to blow the officer who stopped you during your DWI arrest may still mark you down for refusing the test if you fail to fill the machine with enough air to get an accurate reading. This is especially true if you’ve been in an accident where you injured your ribs, chest, back, or upset your diaphragm.
Now a general question many will ask is simple:
If I refuse to take a sobriety test or I am unable to perform these tests can I still be convicted for a DWI by the state North Carolina?
The answer is yes, of course, and the state of North Carolina will try their best to convict you. DWI charges are very difficult to defend against in court even if you have refused to incriminate yourself based on your Fifth Amendment and Miranda rights. This is because unlike in other forms of litigation where a jury cannot be told that you chose not to incriminate yourself because they must assume your innocence, DWI cases in North Carolina allow for such refusals by the defendant to be made known and have that refusal be assumed as evidence of guilt.
Though this type of discrimination is unconstitutional and violates many of our country’s founding principles it has yet to be challenged in court. Because of this many DWI defense attorneys sometimes consider the cases where the defendant has refused to incriminate themselves harder to win than cases where someone actually blew a 0.08% BAC result.
It is also worth noting that many people who are stopped for a DWI usually chose to take a breathalyzer test or submit themselves to a field sobriety test if it is their first offense, but those who have been charged with a previous DWI in North Carolina are often advised to refuse these tests because if they do happen to show themselves to be impaired they will face stiffer penalties.
If you choose to not take these tests during your DWI stop then the state will be forced to try you based on physical evidence alone, which is where a great DWI defense attorney like the one I found at Dummit Fradin becomes so important in making sure that you are able to properly defend yourself.