The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


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What Happens If I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

 Posted on November 30, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Kane County criminal defense lawyerIllinois is an implied consent state, meaning anyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is consenting to sobriety testing. Sobriety testing is often used in determining whether or not a driver was driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Refusal to accept a breathalyzer test to record your current blood alcohol content (BAC) level can have serious consequences, which could see your driver’s license suspended or worse. An attorney who handles DUI defense cases can easily guide you through what to expect when facing such charges and formulate a defense for your trial.

The Penalties For Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

Refusal of a breathalyzer test can see your driver’s license summarily suspended for a minimum of one year; depending on whether this is a first-time offense, you have not been convicted of a DUI in the last five years. Repeat offenders with DUI convictions are looking at a driver’s license suspension of three years.

Drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test will also not be eligible for a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP), even as first-time offenders. Evidence of your refusal can be used against you in your DUI trial. The prosecutor can then say that your refusal is evidence of guilt to conceal intoxication.

When Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

You should refuse a breathalyzer test when you know or suspect you are over the legal BAC limit of 0.08 percent. When they pull you over, an officer does not know your mental or physical state. Accepting a breathalyzer test and blowing any level of BAC provides them enough evidence to arrest you under suspicion of DUI. In this scenario, taking the test will also make it easier for them to convict you of a DUI. Refusal may come with an extended suspension, but it can also protect you from potential additional charges in court.

The Difference in Sobriety Testing

There are two versions of sobriety testing that an officer can use to determine whether or not they have probable cause to arrest you on a DUI charge:

Field sobriety tests are physical tests a police officer may ask a driver to perform when being pulled over under suspicion of DUI. The tests administered typically include:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
  • Walk-and-turn
  • One-legged stand

An HGN is where the driver must follow an object with their eyes so the officer can observe eye movement. The walk-and-turn has the driver walking in a straight line, turning around, and walking back. A one-legged stand test is as it sounds. The driver must stand on one leg to determine stability. Drivers should refuse field sobriety tests in most cases.

Chemical testing involves a breathalyzer, urine, spit swab, or blood sample. These provide more substantial evidence of your BAC and, as such, carry more weight at your trial. Before an officer can administer a chemical test, they must advise you of the consequences of refusal.

Contact a Kane County, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Being pulled over by a police officer can be a harrowing experience. Understanding what should be done in that situation is of the utmost importance. Contact an Elgin, IL DUI defense lawyer immediately for additional guidance or legal representation at trial. The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola can provide the answers to any legal questions you may have in a free initial consultation by calling 847-488-0889.

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