If you have taken a driver’s education course in the state of Illinois, you have likely seen informational videos about the dangers of driving intoxicated. They often show graphic car accident scenes, emotional testimonies from family members who have lost loved ones, and a dramatic moment when the police officer asks the driver to blow into their gun-like device, commonly known as a breathalyzer. Rightfully so, these videos are meant to scare Illinois drivers into driving sober at all times. While it is never a good idea to drive after multiple drinks, many motorists will still get behind the wheel after a few too many. You may think that you will never find yourself in this situation, but it is important to be aware of the laws surrounding chemical testing if you are ever stopped by an officer.
Implied Consent in Illinois
As a teenager sitting in your driver’s ed class, you may not have been paying as close attention to every detail as you should have. Many Illinois drivers are unaware of the state’s implied consent law and find themselves in hot water as a result. According to Illinois law, anyone with a state driver’s license has given their consent for law enforcement to conduct chemical testing of breath, blood, and/or urine to determine your state of intoxication. Typically, an officer will ask drivers to submit to a breath test before moving ahead with any other blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing. If asked to blow into a breathalyzer for such testing, Illinois residents must comply or face an automatic license suspension. Your actual BAC has no weight on this suspension. In other words, if you are completely sober or know that you are well under the 0.08 percent BAC limit and refuse the test on principal, you will still face this license suspension.
Are Breathalyzers Always Accurate?
Even if you have submitted to a breath test and the results label your BAC as being 0.08 percent or higher, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can still defend your case. Breath tests are not the most accurate testing for BAC since there are a number of factors that can impact the results. Particular substances in the mouth can produce inaccurate results depending on the amount of alcohol vapor that they emit. Traces of alcohol found in mouthwashes, breath fresheners, and medication can skew the readings from the test. Like any form of technology, there is room for errors with the software, calibration, or device altogether. The officer should perform more than one breathalyzer test to ensure that the results are consistent. If only one test was performed, an attorney can use this to his or her advantage in formulating your defense. These are just two examples of possible errors that may occur during breathalyzer testing. If you are asked to blow into a breathalyzer, be sure to remember the exact details of the situation so you can provide your attorney with a detailed account if your BAC is found to be greater than 0.08 percent.