If Illinois and Chicagoland police stop you on suspicion of driving under the influence, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or field sobriety tests will initiate serious consequences, and often these are worse than being found of guilty of driving under the influence.
When law enforcement pulls over a driver, he or she faces stark choices. Refusing to take the sobriety or blood test is no way to escape a DUI charge. The police will immediately arrest you and suspend your driver’s license for refusing a breath test. After you’ve been arrested, the police can legally demand you take a sobriety test.
Refusing a sobriety test results a one-year suspension of the driver’s license for a first offense. However, if you fail a field sobriety test you will face a six-month suspension for a first DUI offence.
But policing for suspected DUI driving has changed dramatically in Illinois. According to a Chicago Tribune story, Police in McHenry and now other counties, who suspect motorist of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, will seek a blood test. Law enforcement must apply for a warrant to make a motorist take the blood test. However, “e-warrant” allows police to immediately petition a judge for a warrant and receive one while conducting a traffic stop. If the judge approves the warrant, then the police will take motorist to a local emergency room where a health care professional draws and tests blood for alcohol and drugs.
In Illinois, a DUI charge or convictions falls under the Office of the Secretary of State and the criminal justice system. A DUI charge often produces several penalties, and if found guilty, you will face criminal charges. In addition, the Secretary of State’s office will revoke or suspend your driver’s license.
Criminal and Secretary of State penalties
In Illinois, a DUI charge or conviction involves both the criminal justice system and the Office of the Secretary of State. The criminal justice system imposes penalties and sentences for a DUI conviction while the Secretary of State office revokes or suspends driver’s license of DUI suspects.
When law enforcement asks you to take a field sobriety, you need to carefully weigh the possible outcomes. Your compliance or non-compliance will determine whether you will retain your driver’s license and if law enforcement will apply additional charges.
No clear answer
If you refuse the breath test and field sobriety tests, you face arrest, suspended driver’s license, penalties and higher insurance costs. But if you take a sobriety test and cannot perform the test well, it does not serve you well. On the other hand, if you take the breath test and blow above 0.05, then the prosecution now has sufficient evidence for a conviction. You need to carefully weigh your options under DUI suspicion. If you think you’re over the legal limit, you may be better off submitting to the field sobriety tests.