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.

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