The capital of North Carolina is a little more than an hour west of us here in Greenville, and in that short distance it appears you could enter a city with a drunk driving epidemic. According to Raleigh police, the number of driving while intoxicated arrests in the city for the first half of 2014 has doubled compared to the first half of 2013.
In the first half of 2013, 794 people were arrested on DWI charges. In the first half of this year, the figure nearly doubled to 1,484 DWI arrests. Curiously and thankfully, the number of DWI-related deaths plummeted from 12 in the first half of 2013 to just two in the first half of 2014.
Obviously, it appears there has been an increase in police patrols to catch people who are driving while intoxicated. But no matter how much the police bolstered their patrols, they still have to abide by the law when arresting and investigating someone who they suspect is intoxicated behind the wheel of a car.
For example, the police will want to give you a breath test if they think you are intoxicated at the wheel. North Carolina has an "implied consent" law, which means that if the police carry out the investigation properly and they have probable cause that you are intoxicated, then you automatically consent to breath test.
However, there is a preliminary breath test they may give you at the site of the traffic stop to try to gauge your blood alcohol content. This breath test can be refused. It is the evidentiary breath test, given later at a police facility, that can't be refused.
Source: WRAL,"DWI arrests on the rise in Raleigh, police report," Kelly Gardner, July 4, 2014