If you have ever been pulled over on suspicion o f driving under the influence (DUI) then you may have had experience with a breathalyzer. Technically, the term “breathalyzer” is a brand name for a specific type of breath alcohol test, but the word is also used to refer to generic devices for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC). There is quite a bit of confusion about breath tests and the legal consequences of failing a breath test. Some people say you can refuse a breath test while others say you cannot. Read on to learn about Illinois DUI law and what to expect if you are ever asked to breathe into a breathalyzer.
Can I Refuse a Breath Alcohol Test?
The answer to whether or not a person can refuse a breath alcohol test and whether one should refuse a breath test are different. Technically, if a police officer pulls over a suspected drunk driver and tells him or her to submit to a chemical BAC test, the driver can say no. The police are not going to forcibly make the driver take the test.
However, refusing a breathalyzer upon arrest for suspicion of drunk driving brings administrative consequences including driver’s license suspension. If a police officer asks you to take a breath test and you refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended via a “statutory summary suspension.” If the motorist does not already have a DUI conviction on his or her record or statutory summary suspension within the last five years, the driver’s license suspension lasts for one year. If the driver has been convicted of drunk driving previously or had a statutory summary suspension within the past five years, the driver’s license suspension for refusing a breath test lasts three years. In both scenarios though, an attorney can contest these suspensions in court. In addition to license penalties, evidence of the chemical BAC test refusal can also be used against the defendant during his or her criminal DUI case. Prosecutors can argue that the defendant only refused the test because he or she was guilty of driving under the influence.
Can I Cheat a Breathalyzer?
Some individuals may wonder if there is a way to cheat a breath test. It is important to remember that chemical blood alcohol tests have been used by law enforcement for decades, and that the technology behind the devices is quite effective. Chewing gum and using breath mints or mouthwash does not mask breath alcohol content or lower BAC readings. Tricks like these or sucking on pennies are simply urban legends. The only way to be completely certain you will not go to jail for driving under the influence is to avoid drinking and driving entirely.
Contact a Joliet, Illinois DUI Lawyer
If you have further questions about refusing a BAC test or are now facing DUI charges, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. Schedule your cost-free, completely confidential initial consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba by calling 815-740-4025 today.