When you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, one of the first challenges you will face is likely to be the officer’s request to submit to field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. If the officer has pulled you over, he has done so because he feels he already has probable cause based on behavior you exhibited on the road.
From that moment on, standard protocol—and Illinois law—allows the officer to ask you to step out of the car (if he deems it necessary) and to ask you to submit to these tests. Although the situation is an intimidating one, especially if you feel you are being falsely accused, you do have the right to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test if you wish. If you do decide to take the test, though, it is important to understand the disadvantages that come with submitting.
Here are three ways submitting to a breathalyzer test can hurt you:
You may lose your driving privileges.
In the state of Illinois, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test as a first offense results in the suspension of driving privileges for 12 months. If this is your second or subsequent offense, you are looking at a much longer suspension of driving privileges - up to three years. While this may make you hesitant to refuse a breathalyzer test, it should be noted that if you take and fail the test, you still face losing your driving privileges for six months, and that is not counting any additional criminal charges that may be tacked on as a result of your conviction, which can further hurt your driving privileges over a longer period of time. In general, if you have, in fact, been drinking and then submit to a breathalyzer test, you can almost guarantee a negative impact on your freedom to drive in the future.
You may still be subject to additional criminal charges.
Criminal charges are separate from the statutory summary suspension - the administrative process that suspends your license. Additional criminal charges may apply depending on the circumstances that surround your conviction, which can result in community service, imprisonment, and hefty fines. One fine you will be responsible for, should you be found guilty, is the medical cost resulting from the chemical blood testing. This can cost you up to $500. These penalties, combined with the hit to your driving privileges, are a big price to pay for submitting to a breathalyzer test.
You give prosecution evidence against you.
You cannot be found guilty of criminal charges if there is no evidence against you. If you have indeed been consuming alcohol and got behind the wheel, submitting to a breathalyzer test when pulled over for DUI gives prosecutors the evidence they can use to convict you in a court of law. If you refuse the test, you eliminate the collection of potentially incriminating evidence.
If you are uncertain about your decision to submit, you should speak with a knowledgeable Chicago DUI defense lawyer the moment you are pulled over for the suspicion of operating under the influence. Call the Luisi Legal Group today at 773-276-5541 to schedule a consultation.