All U.S. states have some variation of an implied consent law, which means you automatically agree to consent to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test for drunk driving when you get your driver’s license. Under Illinois’ implied consent statute, you face harsh punishment if you refuse a breathalyzer or other type of chemical test. A first offense means an automatic driver’s license suspension for one year. Additional refusals can lead to a suspension of your driving privileges for up to three years. These penalties are in addition to any sentence if you are eventually convicted for drunk driving charges.
Considering the serious consequences, it makes sense to take the breathalyzer BAC test in most situations. Fortunately, there are ways to fight test results using strategies relied upon by Illinois DUI defense attorneys.
- Training and Certification: The law enforcement officer conducting a breathalyzer test must have proper training and credentials to operate the testing equipment. Illinois uses the ECIR II to measure BAC. The manufacturer has a strict set of instructions and training that a user must complete for the results to be admissible in court.
- Improper Maintenance and Calibration: The device itself must also be properly maintained, including cleaning and regular calibration. An ECIR II must be certified by the Illinois State Police every 62 days, and failure can cause the test to be tossed out as evidence.
- ECIR II Warranty: Even with properly trained users and proper care, these breathalyzer machines come with a warranty on defects. While the age of the specific ECIR II in your case may vary, many of these machines are well beyond their warranty date. By giving a warranty, the manufacturer recognizes that functionality is subject to wear and tear. The company is not willing to take responsibility for any defects that come up after the warranty period.
- Lung Capacity: You must expel a certain amount of air for a breathalyzer test result to deliver an accurate result. Lung capacity is affected by such factors as gender, age, and size. Plus, respiratory conditions, such as asthma or COPD, can affect volume and affect the reading.
- The Gerd Defense in Illinois: The Gerd Defense has been successful in fighting drunk driving charges in multiple jurisdictions. This defense strategy starts with the assumption that your BAC in one exhale is the same as the level of alcohol in your system. For those taking the popular drug Nexium, after burping, the BAC in your breath could be higher as compared to the rest of your body. Therefore, police should wait for some time after a burp for the higher BAC in your mouth to return to the level in your system. If they do not, you have grounds to contest the BAC test results.
Schedule a Consultation with an Illinois Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer Today
If you were arrested and did a breathalyzer test for BAC, there are still ways to fight a drunk driving conviction. To get started on a solid DUI defense strategy right away, please schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson. You can reach our firm by calling 847-577-8700 or visiting us online.
(image courtesy of Thomas Picauly)