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Do You Have a Right to Refuse a Breathalyzer in Illinois?

Have you been pulled over and wondered "Do You Have a Right to Refuse a Breathalyzer in Illinois?" Understanding your rights regarding breathalyzer refusal is crucial. Our comprehensive guide delves into the complexities surrounding the choice to decline a breathalyzer in Illinois. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, staying informed about these laws can make a critical difference in how you navigate such situations.

For assistance with your DUI case, reach out to our team of experienced DUI lawyers today at 847-999-7616 and receive a free consultation.

Do You Have a Right to Refuse a Breathalyzer in Illinois?

Do you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test in Illinois when suspected of drunk driving? The short answer is yes; in Illinois, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test when suspected of drunk driving. Under Illinois law, no person shall be required to submit to a chemical test of their breath, blood alcohol test, or urine test without first being advised of their constitutional rights and being informed that refusal to submit may result in the revocation or suspension of their driver’s license. An Illinois DUI attorney can help you navigate a drunk driving charge.

Implied consent laws are an important part of ensuring that people who get behind the wheel are operating their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. In Illinois, upon getting their driver's license, it is implied that drivers will consent to taking a field sobriety test if they are suspected of intoxicated driving.

These tests provide an opportunity for law enforcement officers to gauge the level of impairment of a person before charging them with a criminal offense. By refusing to take sobriety tests and consequently revoking consent to administer such tests, you can face serious ramifications such as having your license suspended or revoked.

The purpose of implied laws is simple: To protect other people on the road from someone who might be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These laws provide an objective method for law enforcement to determine whether or not an individual is capable of safely operating a motor vehicle.

Learn More: Your Right to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Illinois

What Options Do You Have When It Comes to Taking the Breath Test?

In the state of Illinois, police officers are allowed to offer a preliminary alcohol breath test when they pull someone over and suspect that they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This test should not be confused with the evidentiary breath test that takes place at the police station and can be used as evidence in court. The preliminary breath test does not have the same reliability as an evidentiary breath test and may not be used against someone at trial. However, it may provide a basis for law enforcement to establish probable cause to make an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). It is important to remember that you cannot be penalized for refusing the preliminary breath test if you are asked to take it. 

On the other hand, when you arrive at the police station, you will be asked to submit to a breath-alcohol concentration (BAC) test known as an evidentiary breath test. This form of testing will generally record higher results than those found on a preliminary breathalyzer and can legally be presented in court as evidence at trial. If your blood alcohol level reading is 0.08 or higher then there is probable cause for being charged with DUI.

What Happens in Illinois if You Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test?

Impaired driving is a serious offense in Illinois. Suppose you are suspected of driving under the influence. In that case, the police officer will likely ask you to take a breathalyzer test on the scene to determine your blood alcohol concentration level.

Refusing to take the breathalyzer test has consequences—if you refuse, you could face an administrative driver's license suspension known as a "statutory summary suspension". Furthermore, the evidence of breathalyzer refusal can be used against you if you are charged as a drunk driver.

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you may receive an automatic suspension of your license. The license suspension periods vary depending on your driving records and whether the driver has any prior DUI convictions or criminal charges within the last five years - a 1-year suspension without any prior offenses versus a 3-year suspension having one or more prior offenses.

There are typically harsher punishments and major consequences if you have many or subsequent offenses, so it's important to keep your prior record in mind. During this period, the driver is ineligible for a permit or hardship license.

A woman in a car with a police office holding a breathalyzer

What Happens After Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer in Illinois?

Refusing to take a breathalyzer test in Illinois can lead to greater consequences than just going ahead and allowing yourself to be tested. In many counties, law enforcement officials can obtain a warrant for blood testing directly from their patrol car. This means that even when you refuse the breath test, they can compel you to submit to a blood draw instead.

Due to the nature of these tests, DUI criminal defense attorneys are quick to dispute them as they argue that individual rights and constitutional guarantees are being abridged. Ultimately, it is up to the court's discretion but if someone is found liable for an accident caused by their BAC level, there often could be much heavier criminal sentences imposed on them for refusing such tests.

What the Court Will Do After You Refuse a Breathalyzer

Refusing to take a breathalyzer test in Illinois can have legal consequences and penalties for refusal. According to new procedures, many counties are now able to secure warrants for blood tests, so if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test at the scene, you will then be taken to a hospital for the blood test. Furthermore, they could use it against you in court if you do not consent to a blood alcohol test at the scene.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation due to a DUI charge, don't hesitate to call DUI Lawyers 24/7 today in Illinois. Our lawyers are experienced in drunk driving cases and can build a strong defense on your behalf.

Woman and police officer with a breathalyzer

Call DUI Lawyers 24/7 Today!

DUI Lawyers 24/7 understands that receiving a DUI is a stressful experience. If you or a loved one has received a DUI or has had a license suspension, contact our drunk driving defense lawyers for a no-cost initial consultation today! We offer legal guidance and strong legal representation for our clients. Our law firm will assess your case based on factual and solid evidence and advocate for you to potentially receive lesser consequences. Our traffic attorneys have extensive experience in helping clients understand their legal rights and navigate the entire legal process.

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