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Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Illinois?

Getting pulled over on suspicion of DUI is a terrifying experience, and it is hard to know exactly what to do in that moment. If you are charged with a DUI, it can have serious penalties in Illinois, including jail time, steep fines, and the creation of a criminal record. For this reason, it is important to do everything that you can to avoid a conviction for DUI. So, can refusing a breathalyzer test help you avoid a conviction? It might.

What Happens if I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test?

When you drive on the roads in Illinois, you give implied consent to the state police and troopers to test your blood alcohol level if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, which would be against state law. However, state troopers and officers cannot actually do anything to compel you to take a breathalyzer test. In fact, they even have to tell you that you have the right to refuse it.

There are usually two breathalyzer tests performed when you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, one at the scene on the side of the road (a test which is less accurate) and one at the station which is administered by a professional and is more accurate. Only the reading of the breathalyzer done at the station will be admissible as evidence in court. However, you have the right to refuse both of them. This should also underscore the point that by consenting to a breathalyzer test you are potentially providing damning evidence to the police and prosecution.

If you refuse the breathalyzer test, you will receive an automatic one-year license suspension. This license suspension is handled as an administrative matter, though, rather than a criminal one, so it will not go on your criminal record. If you are tried and convicted of a DUI you will receive a shorter license suspension of six months, but you will also receive a criminal charge.

In some cases, the police may actually procure a warrant for your blood even if you have refused consent to a breathalyzer test. Your blood alcohol level can also be determined based on a blood test, so it is possible that even if you refuse a breathalyzer test on the scene and at the station, they may still be able to test your blood alcohol level by getting a warrant from a judge. This will take more time, though, which could cause your BAC to decrease. Ultimately, there are pros and cons to refusing a breathalyzer test, and the best decision for you will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.

Contact Glasgow & Olsson Criminal Trial Lawyers

If you are facing charges for DUI in Schaumburg, Illinois, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson are ready to fight to get your charges dropped, reduced, or to help you overcome them in court. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

Going to Juvenile Court for Drug Possession and Sale in Illinois

Illinois does not take drug use or possession lightly, but when it comes to drug sale or trafficking, the penalties can be life-altering. Trafficking a Schedule IV substance like Xanax can result in six or more years in prison, while heroin, a DEA schedule I substance, is a serious felony that can result in spending 15 to 30 years in prison in addition to $25,000 in fines. For a 15-year-old, that can be life-ending. So, what happens when a minor is caught in possession of, or trafficking, an illegal or controlled substance? We will look at our model family to learn more about that here.

Drug Use and the Model Family

Our model family is full of upstanding community members and exceptional students. However, when the parents’ marriage hit the rocks, the kids were sent into a free-fall. Left without the supervision and care that they were accustomed to, the previously straight-A students and impressive athletes quickly fell in over their heads. The son threw parties full of drugs and alcohol, getting high-school aged guests pulled over for DUI, and causing a felony DUI accident himself, while his sister has become addicted to Oxycontin and Heroin, and is rumored to be dealing Oxycontin, as well.

Because the daughter is 15, she will be tried in juvenile court. It is important that she be represented by a lawyer, because if her court-appointed advocate is not familiar with the system or her case, it could cost her the opportunity to remain free of jail and correctional facilities and to get her life back on track. Without the intervention of an attorney, the daughter could be looking at serious jail time. In the event that she is charged as an adult, she could be looking at 30 years or more in jail. However, if her attorney makes the case that she has a substance abuse issue that she is willing to work on, the court may refer her to the Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Program.

Eligibility for the Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Program

In order to be eligible for this program, the daughter must not have committed any violent crimes, must not deny drug use, must express willingness to actively participate in the program, and must not have been adjudicated for committing a violent crime (even as a juvenile delinquent) over the past 10 years. As part of the plan, the daughter will be thoroughly assessed and a treatment plan will be created for her. The plan will typically last 12 to 18 months, during which time the daughter will have to continue appearing in court and attending high school. After the daughter has completed at least 12 months of the program, and has been free of drugs and alcohol for at least six months, she can graduate from the program. At this point, the original charges will be dropped.

Contact Glasgow & Olsson to Schedule a Consultation

If your child is facing drug charges, our lawyers can help them get their life back on track and keep their record clean. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule a consultation.

DCFS Investigations for Failure to Supervise

When you think about the Department of Children and Family Services, you may think primarily about small children who are in danger. However, parents have a legal responsibility to supervise minor children until they are 18 years old. This means that parents can face serious consequences, such as legal charges for neglect, or even the removal of their children from their residence, even if the children are teenagers, as in the case of our model family.

DCFS can investigate and bring a matter to juvenile court if they believe abuse, neglect, or dependency are negatively affecting a minor-child’s wellbeing. Dependency occurs when a parent is unable to properly care for their child, whether due to their own fault or a condition or situation outside of their control. Sometimes dependency can be caused by disability or illness.

Abuse and neglect are a bit more straightforward. DCFS can also bring a matter before an Illinois court in anticipation of abuse or neglect occurring. Failure to supervise minor children can be a form of abuse or neglect which can be brought before an Illinois juvenile court by DCFS. If the court agrees that abuse or neglect is occurring, the minor children may be removed from the home, or the court may begin supervising the parents’ care of them. If you have been notified of a DCFS investigation into your parenting or home conditions, it is important to retain counsel as soon as possible.

DCFS and the Model Family

Our model family may not immediately strike you as one in need of a DCFS visit. The parents are both successful, the family is well-off and lives in a nice house, the parents are nice and upstanding members of the community, and the kids have always performed well at school. However, peeling back that facade, an attentive teacher may notice that things have been changing for the children.

The parents have been spending a lot of time outside of the home, leaving the kids unsupervised. This has resulted in partying and drug use by both children. A group of high-school aged attendees at the unsupervised party were pulled over by police and found to be driving while nearly double the legal blood alcohol limit for adults (despite them being minors). Later, their son was involved in a horrific drunk driving accident where a third-party was killed. Now, their daughter is doing Oxycontin and heroin, and accused of dealing it as well. All of these criminal activities, most of them serious felonies carrying jail time, were made possible due to their lack of supervision.

DCFS is one of the most powerful agencies in the state. If they deem it appropriate, they can take your child from you and force you to go through a complex legal process to have them return that can take years. If a DCFS complaint is filed against the parents, or the police refer the matter to DCFS, there is a good chance that they will be party to a separate DCFS investigation and possibly brought before the juvenile court. The outcome of the DCFS investigation process can depend on whether the parents hire legal counsel to help navigate this complex process and at times, deal with the possibility that there is a problem that they want to focus on addressing, otherwise, the children could be removed from the home.

Contact Glasgow & Olsson

If you are facing a DCFS investigation, don’t navigate the process alone. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you keep your family together.