After being arrested for DWI in North Carolina, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test of your breath or blood to determine your blood alcohol content, or BAC. If you are asked to submit to a breath test, it will be administered at the police station.
Conducting the Test
Law enforcement officers in North Carolina use either the Intoxilyzer 5000 or the EC/IR II, both of which determine BAC by measuring the amount of alcohol in your deep lung air.
Very specific protocol must be followed when administering a breath test. For example:
- The officer must be trained and certified to use the breathalyzer machine
- The machine must be properly calibrated and maintained
- The officer must observe the suspected drunk driver for 15 minutes prior to administering the test to ensure that he or she does not burp, vomit, eat or drink
PBT vs. Intoxilyzer Testing
Essentially, this official state breath test works in a manner similar to the preliminary breath test. While you are at liberty to refuse the PBT without consequence, you will be charged with a refusal if you decline to take the state test. In addition, the results of the state test can be used as evidence against you while the results of the PBT will likely have a limited impact on your case.
Regardless of the results of your state breath test, if you have been arrested and charged with DWI in North Carolina, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced DWI defense attorney immediately.