If you have been stopped by the police while driving and under suspicion of a DUI, you may wonder if you can refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test. The answer is generally yes, but refusing a chemical test comes with consequences. However, refusing a breath test can be useful when it comes time for your DUI defense.
According to implied consent laws in Illinois, anyone who drives a motor vehicle automatically consents to chemical testing of their breath, blood or urine to determine intoxication. An officer can request a driver to submit to a chemical test if the officer has probable cause to suspect that the driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The officer will then get to determine which type of chemical test to administer, depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
If you refuse to submit to the test, the officer should advise you of the consequences. In Illinois, drivers who refuse testing with no prior conviction or statutory summary suspension within the last five years, will automatically lose their license for one year. The suspension will increase to three years if there is a prior conviction or statutory summary suspension within the past five years on their record.
While refusing a chemical test during a DUI stop comes with consequences, it also has its advantages. Prosecutors often have a more difficult time proving that a driver was under the influence without the test results to back up their claims. However, it is important to note that you may face serious consequences whether or not you refuse chemical testing. A criminal defense attorney specializing in DUIs can provide you with more information regarding breath test refusal.