Law enforcement pulls a driver over on suspicion of drunk driving. Among other things, the authorities may ask motorists in such cases to provide a breath sample to determine their blood alcohol concentration level or BAC. Worried about potentially incriminating themselves, some drivers may consider declining these requests.
To prevent unnecessary penalties, it benefits people to understand their rights and obligations with regards to breath testing at driving under the influence traffic stops.
According to Illinois state law, by operating motor vehicles in the state, drivers automatically consent to BAC testing. Therefore, if they refuse a request for a breath sample by law enforcement, they will face additional penalties. When asking for consent, state law requires law enforcement officers to notify drivers what will happen if they choose not to submit to the testing.
If they decline breath testing, drivers face penalties on top of those the court may impose for a DUI conviction. According to the Illinois secretary of state, drivers who violate the implied consent law will have their driver’s licenses suspended. The suspension period for a first-time offense is 12 months. For a second or subsequent violation of the law within five years, people will lose their driving privileges for three years.
Relief for drivers
Eligible motorists may receive provisional driving privileges during their suspension periods. With a monitoring device driving permit, people with suspended licenses may operate motor vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices.
Refusing a breath test may have consequences that drivers never expected or intended. However, understanding their rights when stopped on suspicion of DUI may help motorists protect themselves and their futures.