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The Legal Consequences of Refusing Breathalyzer Tests in Illinois

 Posted on September 27, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Illinois Criminal Law AttorneyA police officer who suspects you to have been driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol can pull you over and request a breathalyzer test. Illinois law considers driving a privilege, and as such, once you are behind the wheel of a vehicle you are giving implied consent to being tested.

Refusal of a breathalyzer test can result in serious legal consequences even if you have not been drinking at all. For this reason, it is important to hire legal representation to help fight any charges you might be facing.

Implied Consent

Illinois is an "implied consent" state, which means that all drivers who operate a motor vehicle in the state are deemed to have consented to chemical testing of their blood alcohol content (BAC) upon request by a law enforcement officer. This means that if you are pulled over and asked to take a breathalyzer test, you are legally required to do so.

Should You Take a Breathalyzer Test?

Though it is a legal requirement in Illinois, you can outright refuse a breathalyzer test. It is a good idea to carefully consider whether or not to take a breathalyzer test. If you are confident that you are under the legal limit, you may want to take the test to clear your name. 

Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

Refusal to take a breathalyzer test can result in your driver's license being suspended for up to one year. This is referred to as a statutory summary suspension which takes effect 46 days after the date of notice is received. If you have refused to take a breathalyzer test or have received a DUI conviction in the past five years, your license can be suspended for up to three years. However, if you submit to the test and are found to be over the legal limit, first-time offenders will generally only see a six-month license suspension.

Impact of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test on Your DUI Case

A police officer can secure a warrant on the spot if they feel you have been drinking and driving. When this happens, they can take you to a hospital and request a blood test to determine your BAC level. This is not refusable, and if convicted of a DUI, you may have to pay the fee for the blood test.

The refusal of a breathalyzer test can be used against you in a DUI charge. Not only that but the evidence acquired throughout the process can be used against you as well. This includes:

  • Possible video and audio evidence

  • Your driving behavior

  • Witness testimony

  • Failed or refusal of a sobriety test

Refusing a breathalyzer can make the situation far worse. Even if you are not convicted of DUI, refusing a breathalyzer test will make it more difficult to defend yourself against the charges. The prosecution may be able to argue that you refused to take the breathalyzer test because you knew that you were over the legal limit.

Contact a Naperville, IL DUI Attorney

Being arrested under the suspicion of a DUI can be a nightmare. But it is important that you not provide law enforcement with more evidence to convict you. Refusing a breathalyzer test can help prevent a worse outcome and securing a skilled DuPage County, IL breathalyzer defense lawyer can work toward lifting your suspension. Contact the Law Office of Philip R. Nathe at 630-416-7600 for a free consultation and begin mounting your defense.

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