If you are pulled over or arrested in Illinois by police officers for suspected drunk driving, odds are you'll be asked to take at least one sobriety test. These include field exams meant to estimate sobriety, and chemical tests which measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). Failing a field test can lead to a drunk driving arrest, and scoring a breath alcohol level of 0.05 or higher after a DUI arrest can result in intoxicated driving charges and convictions which may permanently affect your life.
Deciding what to do in these situations is daunting, especially when refusing to take a sobriety test or taking one, and scoring a breath alcohol content of 0.05 or higher can both severely hurt your drunk driving case. However, knowing Illinois' drunk driving laws and the Secretary of State's regulations can help you make the right decision if you are ever pulled over or arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This article will explain key facts in Illinois drunk driving law, the possible negative consequences of refusing a sobriety test, and your legal options if you're dealing with a DUI arrest or charge.
Do You Have to Blow for a DUI in Illinois?
If you're pulled over under suspicion of impaired driving, the law enforcement officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test, such as walking into a straight line or blowing into a portable breathalyzer.
You aren't legally required to blow for DUI after being pulled over. Theoretically, you may refuse to take any field sobriety test asked of you before an intoxicated driving arrest and won't face license suspension. However, whether that actually happens is a different story altogether.
The lack of legal obligation to take field sobriety tests is complicated by the subjectivity of these tests and the fact that you can still face a DUI arrest based on other signs of impairment. You can refuse a field test, but most probably you may be arrested, after which you're legally required to complete at least one sobriety test.
Refusal to take sobriety tests can cause a statutory summary suspension by the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS). A first-time DUI offender can face a 1-year license suspension period, while subsequent offenders may face 3-year license suspension periods.
On the other hand, failing a sobriety test by scoring a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher can also cause a statutory summary suspension of 6 months for a first-time offender and a one-year license suspension period for subsequent offenses occurring within five years of the first offense.
A legal option exists in Illinois for first-time offenders or people facing a statutory summary suspension to get a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDPP) which permits them to drive their motor vehicles installed with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID).
Is It Better to Blow or Not Blow for a Drunk Driving Arrest?
You might be asked to blow into a machine at the scene of your DUI arrest. This machine is referred to as a Portable Breath Test (PBT). If the results of the PBT indicate that you're over the legal limit of 0.08, the police officers will use those results in court to prove grounds to arrest you.
However, the PBT results aren't admissible in the drunk driving prosecution, and your refusal to blow into the PBT won't result in any legal action being taken against your driving privileges. Nor will your refusal to perform the field sobriety tests result in any harsh legal action being taken against your driver's license.
What Happens If You Refuse to Use a Breathalyzer in Illinois?
Illinois, like many states, punishes DUI suspects who opt not to take a breath test. If you're arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and you blow over the 0.08% legal limit, you'll have your driver's license suspended for six months.
This legislation is intended to encourage DUI suspects to take the breath test; however, many individuals choose not to blow so that there is less evidence to be used against them in a courtroom. The problem becomes more daunting with a second DUI conviction. Refusal to blow results in a three-year license suspension period, but blowing over 0.08% only leaves you with a year of license suspension.
The choice of whether you should blow involvers weighing the two risks – on one hand, the risk that you'll face harsh consequences, and on the other hand, the risk that you'll give the prosecution incriminating evidence that can be used against you. It is crucial to always remember that police officers don't rely exclusively on breathalyzers to establish whether someone is too intoxicated to drive; most law enforcement officers are familiar with alcohol and presumed capable of establishing if someone is drunk.
This testimony can and should be challenged in the courtroom, but you should never assume that you can get off by refusing to blow when the police officer already had reasonable doubt to suspect that you were driving while drunk.
The decision of whether to blow can only be made based on the circumstances of your DUI case. The crucial thing to remember is, that regardless of what decision you made at the moment, there are always effective defense strategies for fighting the charges. The experienced DUI criminal defense attorneys at Naperville DUI Lawyer are experienced in fighting drunk driving charges and know all the defense strategies necessary to offer you the legal help you need. To schedule a no-cost and confidential consultation, contact our criminal defense law firm today at(630) 425-0250.
I Already Took the Breath Test or Refused. Now, What Should I Do?
If you're at a point where you're facing a DUI arrest or charges, it's crucial that you seek legal advice and representation immediately. Perhaps, you've already taken one or more field sobriety tests, or perhaps you refused and are still facing DUI charges. No matter what your DUI case may be and what has already happened, it's essential to take the right steps going forward.
A seasoned DUI defense lawyer can protect you from a legal system that's looking to convict you. The chances in a DUI case can often be stacked against you, which is why you need an aggressive DUI criminal defense attorney who will look out for your legal rights and your wellbeing. Whether your DUI case involves facing the Secretary of State, the criminal justice system, or both, your chances are much better with an experienced attorney at your side.
Contact the Experienced Cook County DUI Criminal Defense Lawyers at Naperville DUI Lawyer
If you or a family member are dealing with drunk driving charges and worried about the future, our diligent attorneys are here to help. The Committed DUI criminal defense attorneys at Naperville DUI Lawyer have decades of experience defending intoxicated driving cases in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Kane County, Kendall County Will County, and throughout Illinois and we are here to fight your DUI case so you can move forward with your life. To speak to a diligent attorney or to schedule a no-cost initial consultation, give us a call at(630) 425-0250.