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Breath Testing Following Arrest for DUI: Facts and Rights

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In the unfortunate event that you are stopped by the police and accused of driving under the influence , you should be aware of the types of tests that you may be asked to undergo and understand the consequences of agreeing versus refusing to undergo these tests.

The three types of tests are field sobriety tests, portable breath tests, and evidentiary breath tests. The first two types of tests are conducted at roadside and are used, along with a police officer’s other observations, to determine if the officer has probable cause to place you under arrest. This post will focus on the post-arrest evidentiary tests.

Understanding the Types of Evidentiary Tests for DUI

If you are arrested for DUI, you will be taken to a police station and asked to submit to evidentiary testing. Officers will perform chemical testing of your breath, blood, urine, or other bodily substance to determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC) or the presence of other intoxicants. Most commonly, a stationary or desktop breathalyzer machine will be used. Urine testing at the police station or blood testing at a hospital are other common testing techniques.

The Difference Between Preliminary and Evidentiary Breath Testing Evidentiary testing, which is the breath test after you have been arrested, is considered accurate enough to be admissible in a criminal court trial.

In contrast, the preliminary breath testing (PBT) done at roadside with a portable breathalyzer is NOT admissible as evidence against you in a criminal court trial, because it is not considered accurate enough. However, a PBT test is still admissible against you at your court hearing contesting your license suspension. Which means the State does get to use the PBT result in arguing to a judge that your license should remain suspended due to the DUI arrest.

In addition to being used against you in argument to keep your license suspended, PBT results over the legal limit gives the police a solid source of probable cause for an arrest, in addition to field sobriety tests and other observational evidence.

Should I Consent to Evidentiary Testing?

If you refuse to submit to testing, you deny the police evidence of your exact BAC or the presence of other intoxicants. This may be advisable if you are sure you are significantly over the legal limit. However, the penalty for refusing evidentiary testing is an automatic one-year suspension of your driver’s license for a first offense, increasing to a three-year suspension for a repeat offense within five years. In addition, you may still be convicted of the criminal charge of DUI based on other evidence.

If you do submit to testing, the results may prove favorable for you. Possible outcomes include:

• If your BAC is below .05, and you pass the tests for other intoxicants, you are judged “not impaired” and should not be charged with DUI, nor will your driver’s license be suspended.
• If your BAC is between .05 and .08, your license will NOT automatically be suspended. However, you may still face a criminal DUI charge, depending on what other evidence of impairment the police have documented.
• If your BAC is over .08, you will face an automatic license suspension of six months for a first offense (longer for a repeat offense), and you will also face a criminal DUI charge.

Please note that commercial drivers are held to stricter standards.

Protect Your Rights with a Skilled Joliet DUI/Traffic Violations Attorney

Whether you submit to testing or not, you may still be able to avoid a DUI conviction or reduce the consequences you may be facing. To protect your rights, consult a knowledgeable Will County DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.

Adults and Teen Brawl at High School Wrestling Meet

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Sporting events have the ability to bring out the competitive nature in most people, and this is fine if they are the actual competitors. However, when spectators allow the excitement and intensity of sports to impair their judgment, leading them to commit criminal acts , they can find themselves in an embarrassing and expensive legal predicament.

Rivalry Seeps into the Bleachers

Police in the southwest suburban city of Joliet were called to a local high school in November regarding a report of a fight in the stands among spectators attending a wrestling match between two local high school teams. Information from the incident seemed to indicate that fans from both teams were arguing when a member of one of the teams attempted to intervene. The following facts were reported:

• A visiting fan became “very vocal” and was confronted by parents of the home team.
• A 17-year-old boy, who is a member of one of the teams, saw his parents involved in the altercation and rushed into the stands to defend them. He is alleged to have subsequently punched a man who was arguing with his parents.
• While police did not identify the parties involved, the man who claimed he was struck volunteered to area press that he was the victim of an “aggravated battery attack.”
• The 17-year-old was arrested by police for his involvement in the incident, and he was subsequently released into the custody of his parents.
• The latest reports indicate that the local state’s attorney’s office with jurisdiction had not yet received a referral for prosecution regarding the matter.
• Because he is only 17 years of age, the alleged perpetrator could be charged as a juvenile, but since the incident occurred at a public school, prosecutors have the option of applying aggravating circumstances to the charges.
• The high school at which the incident occurred is also conducting a follow up investigation to determine if disciplinary measures are warranted against any students.

Retain the Services of a Highly Competent Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

Nobody expects to run afoul of the law when attending a sporting event, but if you have become involved in a situation involving criminal charges, it is important to have a skilled defense attorney on your side. There is no substitute for knowledgeable experience when it comes to defending yourself against charges of assault, battery, or other crimes. Relying on the professionalism of a resourceful and experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer can ensure you are properly represented during all conversations with law enforcement and in subsequent court proceedings. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba conduct a thorough review of every case in an effort to build and deliver the most aggressive defense strategy possible. Contact us today at 815-740-4025 today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.

Should You Refuse a Portable Breath Test During a DUI Investigation

joliet DUI lawyer

In the unfortunate event that you are stopped by the police and accused of driving under the influence, you should be aware of the types of tests that you may be asked to undergo and understand the consequences of submitting to or refusing these tests.

The three types of tests are field sobriety tests, portable breath tests, and evidentiary breath tests. This post will focus on portable breath tests (PBTs), sometimes called preliminary breath tests or portable breathalyzers. PBTs are conducted at the site of the traffic stop. The police will consider the PBT result along with field sobriety tests and other observations to determine whether or not arrest you for DUI .

Understanding the Portable Breath Test (PBT)

A portable breath test is conducted with a handheld device. These devices are not as accurate as the desktop devices used for the so-called evidentiary tests which occur following an arrest

One important thing to remember is that the police are required to ask for your consent before administering a PBT, and they must give you sufficient time to refuse. An officer’s failure to give you the opportunity to refuse can, by itself, be cause to invalidate an arrest based on that PBT, as decided in a 2016 Illinois court ruling .

Should I Consent to or Refuse to Take a Portable Breath Test?

You are not required to consent to a portable breath test at roadside. There is no civil or criminal penalty for respectfully refusing a PBT. In particular, you should know that your license cannot be suspended if you refuse a PBT.

Furthermore, the results of a PBT cannot be used as evidence against you in criminal prosecution. However, they can be used against you in the civil statutory summary suspension hearing. This hearing decides whether or not you will have a suspended license from the DUI arrest. Obviously, a result of .08 or higher hurts your chances of beating the license suspension.

If you think there is a chance you will pass the test, you may want to consent. Then, if the PBT shows a blood alcohol level below .08, you may avoid an arrest altogether, which is far preferable to going through the process of being arrested.

Remember, though, that PBTs are generally not as reliable as the blood, breath, or urine tests conducted at a police station. The result you receive may not be an accurate result.

If you refuse the PBT, you should know that you can still be arrested for DUI if the arresting officer has other probable cause to suspect you are intoxicated, such as observations of erratic driving or slurred speech. If arrested, you will then be taken to a police station and asked to submit to an evidentiary breath test.

Protect Your Rights with a Skilled Joliet DUI/Traffic Violations Attorney

Regardless of whether you submit to a roadside breath test or not, if you are arrested for DUI, you may still be able to avoid a DUI conviction or reduce the consequences you may be facing. To protect your rights, contact a knowledgeable Will County DUI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.

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