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Can I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Illinois?

 Posted on May 30, 2024 in DUI Law

IL defense lawyerIf you are pulled over by a cop who suspects you might be driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol, he might ask you to take a breathalyzer test. What happens next is critical. Americans have a constitutional right not to incriminate themselves, but the state of Illinois has its own laws determining that driving is a privilege and that anyone driving in the state does so while giving their implied consent to submit to tests. Refusal to do so is considered illegal. You might want to refuse the test regardless of whether you have any drugs or alcohol in your system if you consider it a violation of your privacy, or if you have reason to be nervous around police and you wish to end your interaction as soon as possible. However, there can be serious legal consequences if you refuse. When cases like this arise, it is best to have a skilled Naperville, IL defense attorney guide you as you move forward.

What Happens When You Refuse a Breathalyzer?

Since Illinois is a state that has “implied consent,” which means that all Illinois drivers are assumed to give their consent to submit to breathalyzer tests, it is expected that all drivers would comply. You are legally able to refuse, but if you do, you might have statutory summary suspension. This means that your driver’s license can be suspended for up to three years if you had a DUI conviction in the past five years, and otherwise up to one year. Compare that with the alternative: If you take a breathalyzer and are found to have a blood alcohol consumption level that is over the legal limit, and this is the first time that has happened, your license might only be suspended for six months.

If the police can demonstrate sufficient suspicion that you are under the influence, they can get a warrant and take you to a hospital where you will be administered a BAC blood test. Unlike a breathalyzer, this is not something you can refuse.

It is important to note that even if the criminal charges are eventually dropped or you are found not guilty, you will still face the loss of your license for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer under the implied consent law.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Illinois Defense Lawyer

If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI and asked to take a breathalyzer, call a Naperville, IL criminal defense attorney before you make any decisions. At Law Office of Philip R. Nathe, we can review your case and offer valuable guidance while considering any implications. Call us at 630-416-7600 to schedule a free consultation.

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