Should I Submit to a Breath Test if I'm Pulled Over for DUI?

Should I Submit to a Breath Test if I'm Pulled Over for DUI?

Have you been pulled over and arrested for DUI? When the police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, they will ask you to submit to a chemical test, typically a breath test. Many clients come into my office asking whether or not they should comply and take the breath test in this given situation. Unfortunately, in Illinois there is an implied consent law which requires you to take one of the three chemicals tests. These tests include:

  • A Breath Test
  • A Blood Test
  • A Urine Test

Typically the arresting officer chooses which test, but as the suspect you have the right to ask for additional tests in order to ensure accuracy. By law you are also required to comply if they ask you to take a preliminary breath test even if you are not arrested or under police custody. Preliminary breath tests are treated like field sobriety tests.

If you have had only a few drinks and you feel like you are coherent and in control, then I suggest taking the test. This way the consequences will most likely be minimal in comparison to a refusal which is an automatic suspension. However, if you know you have had way too many drinks and you are probably way above the legal limit, then I suggest refusal.

What if I refuse?

If you decide to refuse to take the test, then the arresting officer should warn you that your driver's license will be suspended for up to a year. If this is not your first refusal in the past, then your license could be taken away for three years.

The Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5) talks more about the penalties of a breath test refusal. The automatic suspension will probably be less harsh than a criminal suspension. Remember that in some states they don't allow you to contact an attorney before taking a breath test or any other chemical test. They will want you to take one as soon as possible after driving to get an accurate reading.

If you refuse, they will take your license away from you. Don't lose hope though! You may be eligible for a temporary driving permit which can allow you to drive. However, in order to get this you will need to put in a request within 10 days of your arrest. Be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

What if I am given the option of which test to take?

If the arresting officer lets you choose which test to take, then I always suggest taking the blood test. This test is the most accurate, the urine test is a close second.

For answers to more criminal and DUI related questions, check out my FAQ pages!


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