Getting pulled over by Illinois state or local police can be a scary and unpleasant experience, and this is especially true if an officer suspects you of driving under the influence. It can be difficult in the heat of the moment to remember or understand your rights, and you may reasonably wonder: Can I refuse a breathalyzer or sobriety test if I’ve been pulled over?
Different states have different laws addressing requirements and consequences for people suspected of driving under the influence. Illinois is called an “implied consent” state, which means that when you got your driver’s license, you agreed you would consent to give an officer a blood or breath sample to assess your blood alcohol content during a lawful request.
However, implied consent is not the same thing as actual consent. To begin with, the implied consent law only applies after you have been arrested on suspicion of a DUI. You do not face any consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test prior to an arrest, even if a police officer says otherwise.
An officer must have probable cause to arrest someone on suspicion of a DUI and may claim slurred speech, unfocused eyes, or the smell of alcohol to find probable cause. Once they determine probable cause, they may arrest you but still cannot physically force you to take a chemical test.
But if you are arrested and you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you will be subject to having your driver’s license suspended for at least a year, depending on whether this is your first refusal to take a breathalyzer test. If you do take the breathalyzer test and it shows your BAC is over the limit of .08 percent, you will face DUI charges that also include driver’s license suspension.
Breathalyzer devices require calibration and proper use, both of which can be called into question in court. A competent DUI defense attorney can use expert witnesses to testify that breathalyzer test results are often inaccurate. A breathalyzer can be powerful evidence against a defendant in court, but so can a defendant’s having refused to take a breathalyzer test. Whether or not you refused a breathalyzer, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.
If you are facing charges of driving under the influence, contact a skilled Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney. At Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law, we take your rights seriously and will immediately begin an aggressive defense. Mr. Anderson has experience successfully representing people charged with DUIs and on many occasions has gotten the case dismissed. Call our office today at 847-253-3400 to schedule your free initial consultation.
Client accused of burglary was acquitted due to our skillful cross examination of eye witness identification.
Client accused of causing the death of another while driving under the influence - Acquitted.
Client accused of first degree murder - Acquitted.
Client accused of embezzlement - Charges never filed.
Hundreds of Secretary of State hearings for Drivers License Reinstatement - Won.