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Chemical Testing for DUI in North Carolina

By driving in North Carolina, a driver is deemed to have given implied consent to chemical testing for impairing substances.  Officers may only direct these tests to be given under the implied consent law when an individual has been arrested under suspicion of committing an implied consent offense, such as DUI.

Before administering a test, the officer must inform the driver of any charges for which he has been arrested or charged.  The officer must also inform the defendant of the law as it relates to implied consent testing, and the consequences of willfully refusing to allow the officer to test the individual.  Even if an individual refuses, it may still be possible to force the individual to be tested.  Recently, many NC jurisdictions have begun to issue warrants that require individuals to give a blood and/or urine sample for testing.

The most common type of chemical test used in North Carolina DUI investigation is a breathalyzer test.  However, NC law also allows for the use of blood and urine testing.  The type of test that a driving who is under arrest will be asked to take is at the discretion of the arresting officer.  When an officer simply believes that a driver is under the influence of alcohol, it is likely the test will be breath.   If the officer believes there may be a presence of drugs, whether illegal or prescription, he will likely ask the arrested individual to submit to blood and/or urine testing.

North Carolina statute makes it clear that testing must be done according to very particular testing procedures and the analysis must be performed by licensed analysts at specific locations.  Failing to abide by these rules will rendered chemical tests inadmissible in a subsequent trial to determine the guilt of the defendant.


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