You may have thought is was long considered a crime to consume alcohol while driving an ambulance, emergency medical service (EMS) vehicle, firefighting vehicle, or law enforcement vehicle. But it wasn’t until the General Assembly passed legislation that this activity was specifically prohibited. Representative McGrady supported the bill.
Before House Bill 532 became law last year, it had already been a Class 3 Misdemeanor to drink alcohol while operating a school bus, school activity bus, or child care vehicle — and now the same prohibition extends to first responders. The new law took effect one year ago today.
The law includes an exemption for law enforcement officers “acting in the course of, and within the scope of, their official duties,” during undercover operations, for example.
A violation of this law is considered to be an “implied-consent” offense. That is, anyone driving on North Carolina’s public roadways is assumed to be giving their “implied consent” to chemical testing if they are ever suspected of driving while impaired (DWI). If a law enforcement officer asks you to submit to a breath test or blood test and you refuse, your driver’s license is automatically revoked for one year — regardless of whether you are ultimately convicted of DWI.