Even if you have never participated in one, most people are familiar with breathalyzer tests. When a person is stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), officers will ask him or her to blow into a portable breath device which measures the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath. This information can be used to calculate the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. If the driver is found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, he or she will be charged with a DUI. But what happens if a person refuses to blow into a portable breathalyzer prior to the arrest and or refuses to take the breathalyzer at the police station, after the arrest?
Refusing the Portable Breath Test
You are allowed to refuse the portable breath test given by police prior to an arrest. The law in Illinois, however, is designed in such a way that it encourages people NOT to refuse breathalyzers or other chemical BAC tests. If you refuse the portable breath test during the officer’s investigation of DUI, there is a high probability that the officer will arrest and charge you with a DUI. If you have had several drinks though, it is generally a good idea to refuse the portable breath test as you might be over the legal limit. In addition, portable breath tests are historically unreliable, and you might get a false reading from the machine, thereby sealing your arrest anyway by the officer.
Illinois Implied Consent Law
If you are arrested for a DUI in Illinois, you will be asked to take a chemical test at the police station to determine the amount of alcohol you have consumed. This test is most frequently a breath test, but blood and urine tests are also used to determine BAC. The implied consent law means that a motorist consents to being tested for BAC after an arrest the moment they got a driver’s license and drove on public roads. Unlike other police encounters, people who are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence and ultimately arrested, do not have the right to have an attorney present before being tested by police. The officer administering a blood alcohol content test will choose the type of test he or she offers, but you have the right to request further testing in order to prove your innocence.
If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test at the police station after you have been arrested for DUI, your license will be suspended for one year for a first-time offender. On the other hand, if submit to and you fail the breathalyzer test at the station, meaning the resulting BAC is .08 percent or above, your license will only be suspended for 6 months for a first-time offender. The only way to stop your license suspension is to file and win a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension in court. Your attorney should file this petition right away.
The benefit of refusing the breathalyzer test at the station is that the prosecution will have a more difficult time proving DUI charges in court. It is important to note that refusing a BAC test does not mean that you won’t be found guilty of a DUI, however, a refusal takes away an important piece of evidence that the state would use against you at trial.
Facing DUI Charges?
If you have been charged with driving under the influence or have refused to take a chemical blood alcohol content test, you need an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney who knows Illinois DUI laws and can fight to protect your freedom and license. To speak with a representative from Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, call 815-740-4025.