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Illinois DUI defense attorneyAll Illinois drivers give “implied consent” to breath, blood, and urine alcohol testing from the moment that they obtain their license. What does this mean, and what happens if you refuse a chemical test? The following information explains, and it provides some important details on where to find assistance with your Illinois DUI case.

What is the Implied Consent Law?

The implied consent law states that drivers must submit to a chemical test upon arrest or face the consequences. Keep in mind that this test is different than the preliminary test, which may be given either in lieu of or conjunction with a field sobriety test. The law says you give implied consent to this testing as well, but you can refuse it. Doing that may not help your case if the officer has another reason to suspect that you were driving while under the influence, but refusing a preliminary test rarely leads to a consequence. That is not the case with the refusal of the chemical test, which is usually requested shortly after your arrest.

What Happens When You Refuse a Chemical Test?

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DuPage County criminal defense attorneyWhen you are pulled over by a police officer and the officer has a reason to believe that you may be intoxicated, he or she may ask you to submit a blood-alcohol content (BAC) test—most often in the form of a breath test. It is possible for the officer to ask even if he or she does not really suspect that you are drunk, but most such tests—commonly referred to as breathalyzers—are conducted to confirm the officer’s suspicions. If an officer in Illinois asks you to take such a test, should you do it? And, what will happen if you refuse? The answers to these questions depend on a number of factors, including when the request is made and what you were doing in the hours leading up to the stop.

Prior to Arrest

The timing of the officer’s request is the key element in determining if consequences will apply for refusing a breathalyzer. If you are asked to take the test before any mention of arrest or any other detainment—except for the traffic stop, obviously—you have no obligation to submit to the test. You cannot be prosecuted nor will you face any other penalties for refusing a BAC test at this point.

From a practical standpoint, however, your refusal may arouse the officer’s suspicion and prompt him or her to take a more in-depth look at the situation. He or she may look at little closer at your demeanor, speech patterns, and other possible clues that could suggest intoxication. Thus, if you have not been drinking, submitting to a pre-arrest breathalyzer may be the fastest route to getting on with your day.

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