Every single day, police in North Carolina have to test drivers for suspected impairment. They may do this after car accidents or as part of routine traffic stops. There are three types of blood alcohol tests. Do you know what they are?
The three commonly used BAC tests are breath, blood and urine. Breath testing is what officers are allowed to perform roadside. Officers typically complete blood and urine testing, on the other hand, at a hospital or a police station.
This is the form of BAC testing most people know about. It involves breathing into a small machine that can detect the presence of alcohol in a person’s body. The machine then calculates the percentage of alcohol and sends a readout for officers to see. Anything above .08% is considered legally intoxicated and may result in your arrest.
Blood and urine testing
Blood testing is only done with your consent or if law enforcement officers can obtain a warrant. The same is true for urine testing. Experts say blood testing is the most accurate form of BAC testing, while urine testing is the least accurate. As such, they use blood testing when possible and urine testing only as a last resort.
Can I refuse?
You do have the right to refuse BAC testing, but there are consequences for doing so. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people who refuse testing may end up facing heavier fines and longer jail sentences if they refuse and ultimately face conviction for DWI charges. Another consequence of refusing is the temporary loss of driving privileges. The only time you cannot refuse is if police obtain a warrant to collect the samples needed.
Can I fight BAC test results?
Yes, of course. No form of BAC testing is 100% foolproof. They all have their issues, and all can return inaccurate results. Things that may affect a BAC readout include:
- Administrator error
- Mechanical error
- Environmental factors
- Certain health issues
Thankfully, you have the right to question the accuracy of your test results. You can also question whether law enforcement authorities had probable cause to perform the test in the first place. Not sure how to go about fighting your test results? The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone.