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Pulled Over for Drunk Driving: What Are Your Rights?

Being pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be a nerve-wracking experience. In such situations, it’s helpful to know your rights and obligations so that you can navigate the process effectively.

In North Carolina, drivers have specific rights after being pulled over for DWI. When stopped, it’s important to remember your right to remain silent. You must provide basic information such as your name, license, insurance information and registration, but if the police officer asks you if you’ve been drinking, and in fact you have been, you should state that you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you wish to speak with an attorney before answering questions.

Drivers may wonder if they have the right to refuse a field sobriety test when requested by the officer. Yes, it is within your rights to decline. Field sobriety tests are subjective, and various factors can impact your performance, including fatigue, nerves or medical conditions like vertigo. 

You may be asked to take a breathalyzer test in addition to the field sobriety test. In North Carolina, implied consent laws dictate that drivers give their consent to chemical testing when they begin to operate a vehicle, so refusing a breathalyzer test may lead to immediate consequences. 

Refusing a breathalyzer test in North Carolina has legal repercussions. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will impose a civil revocation of your driver’s license, a separate administrative action from any criminal charges you may face. In addition, your refusal can also be used as evidence against you in a DWI trial. Understanding these consequences will help you make informed decisions during a traffic stop. 

If you have already been arrested for drunk driving, seeking advice from a DWI attorney is advisable to determine the best course of action based on your unique circumstances. An attorney can examine the circumstances surrounding your arrest and look for signs that the field test or breathalyzer test was administered improperly.

With offices in New Bern and Morehead City, the Carolina Law Group, led by Tommy Kellis, provides dedicated representation in DWI cases. Seeking legal advice promptly can help protect your rights and navigate the complex legal process ahead. Call our firm at 252-636-3737 or contact us online today.

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