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What Penalties Can You Expect When Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?

Posted on in DUI Defense

Chicago DUI defense attorneyWhen you are pulled over for the suspicion of driving under the influence, you have the right to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test if you wish to do so. There are, however, consequences to this option, just as there are consequences to submitting to the test if you have in fact been consuming alcohol. If you are conflicted as to whether to submit or not, it is helpful to familiarize yourself the penalties associated with both options before you make your decision.

Standard DUI Penalties in the State of Illinois

For starters, if you decide to submit to a breathalyzer test and are found to be over the legal limit, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended for six months for your first offense. The suspension doubles to one year for a second or subsequent test failure. The suspension applies regardless of whether prosecutors push for a conviction on DUI charges. If you are convicted of DUI, you are looking at a combination of the following:

  • Misdemeanor or felony charges on your record;
  • Additional suspension of driving privileges;
  • Possible imprisonment that can range anywhere from 1 to 12 years, depending on the severity of your charges. Some imprisonment penalties can even extend from 15 to 30 years, such as Class 1 or Class X felonies; and
  • Hefty fines that can range from $2,500 to $25,000, depending on the severity of the crime.

Penalties for Breathalyzer Refusal

There is much controversy regarding the decision to refuse a breathalyzer test. Is refusing more harmful to your case or can it actually help you in the long run when it is time to face the criminal charges being placed against you? Here is one way to look at it: By refusing to take the test to begin with, you eliminate the collection of further incriminating evidence against you. Prosecutors rely heavily on the results of breathalyzer tests in a court of a law, but if you do not take one of these tests, you cannot fail one. Refusing to submit does not mean you are completely off the hook, however. You still may face the following penalties:

  • Statutory summary suspension of your driving privileges (12-month suspension for first offense, three-year suspension for second or subsequent offenses);
  • Disqualification of your privileges to operate a commercial motor vehicle (this may affect your current and future employment, should you rely on operating this class of vehicle); and
  • Prosecution on DUI charges based on other available evidence.

We Can Help

Whether you made the poor decision to drink and get behind the wheel or believe you have been falsely accused, you need proper legal representation to protect your rights in court. Do not hesitate to talk with a skilled Chicago DUI defense lawyer the moment you are pulled over for DUI. Call the Luisi Legal Group today at 773-276-5541 to schedule a personal consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

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