For many people, being pulled over for DUI is the first real experience they will have with the criminal justice system. Because of this, many people unknowingly provide law enforcement with far too much information in hopes that it will exonerate them and let them off with a warning. This could not be further from the truth.
Once a police officer suspects impaired driving, their next step is to gather all possible evidence to the affirmative, and this includes statements made by those suspected of committing crimes. If you are pulled over for suspected DUI, you must avoid making any statements unless you absolutely have to. When law enforcement asks you to submit to a breath or blood test, however, refusing to cooperate can have more serious consequences.
Should You Submit to a Breath or Blood Test?
As you may have guessed, this question isn't easy to answer. By submitting to a test, you provide law enforcement with evidence that could be used against you in court. If you don't submit, you will face automatic license suspension for 12 months. While it is possible to contest these consequences in court, there are risks to doing so. This article seeks to outline the consequences of either choice to help you feel more confident about the choice you will make.
What Happens if You Refuse a Test?
In Illinois, refusing to take a chemical test means you will face a license suspension of 12 months. These consequences become worse if you were involved in an accident or if this isn't your first time refusing a chemical test within the last 3 years. Beyond this, a prosecutor could still bring DUI charges by using video or audio evidence collected by law enforcement.
Even if you do not consent to a blood or breath test, Chicago law provides that law enforcement can seek a court order to obtain a test against you, though this is less likely. While refusing a chemical test has serious consequences, doing so could help you avoid a criminal conviction on your record.
Submitting to Chemical Testing
Sometimes, it is better to take the test, especially if you know you are well under the legal limit. For example, in Illinois, blowing a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading of .05 percent or less means no statutory license suspension applies in your case. While some law enforcement officers may still seek to bring DUI charges against you, they are not likely to succeed. While an officer can allege impaired driving under the legal BAC limit of .08 percent, these charges are usually easier to contest.
However, if your BAC test results in a reading of higher than .08 percent, you face criminal charges and a license suspension of at least 6 months (12 months if you refused or failed a test in the past 3 years). Illinois law provides that drivers will be able to use their vehicle for 45 days before the suspension begins.
Why Hiring Chicago DUI Defense Attorney Is Important
Ahmad Law Firm has handled thousands of criminal law cases, and we understand the challenges our clients face when protecting their driving privileges and criminal record. We can explain your situation to you during a free consultation to give you an understanding of what to expect in your criminal case. No matter what brought you to this situation, our criminal defense team is on your side to get you out. Call (847) 791-2294 or contact us online to get started.