I Just Got Stopped for DWI, Should I Blow at the Police Station?
One of the most common questions I receive as a defense attorney is “Should I blow if I get stopped for DWI.” As with most questions I receive, the usual answer is “that depends.”
If you decide not to blow, consider the ramifications. If you are suspected of DWI, the officer has the right to ask you to take a test of your breath or blood. You as a driver have a right to refuse the test. If you refuse, your privilege to drive will be suspended by the State of North Carolina for one year. Such a suspension effects your ability to drive in NC whether you are licensed here or not.
If you decide to refuse the test the NC Department of Motor Vehicles will send you notification that your license is suspended for refusal of a chemical test for one year from the date of refusal. However, you may be eligible to get a limited driving privilege after six months.
Now that you understand the ramifications of refusing to blow, why would anyone refuse the test? The main consideration when deciding to blow is your level of impairment. The average person will have a BAC around .08 after approximately four drinks. This is by no means a precise way of predicting BAC, but gives you a baseline. If you drank more than four drinks over the course of the evening, you will probably blow above a .08.
A blow on the Intoximeter above .15 will result in the driver being required to install an Ignition Interlock for one year on their vehicle and an additional civil revocation of 45 days. A BAC of .15 or higher is also an aggravating factor for sentencing which can result in a more severe punishment.
So, as a driver that has been stopped for a potential DWI, you have to determine whether you are better off not driving for at least 6 months, or potentially driving with an interlock for one year. Unfortunately, making decisions after drinking is not advisable.
Therefore, if you may blow above a .15, take into consideration the severity of not blowing vs. blowing above a .15 and decide which consequences are easier to take. Try not to base this decision on how drunk you “feel.” (See the previous article on perceived impairment vs. BAC)