Can I Be Punished For Refusing A Breathalyzer In Illinois?

Even though you may be tempted to refuse a breath test after being arrested for DWI/DUI, it is critical to remember that you may face a license suspension for doing so in Illinois.

If you have been accused of a breath test refusal, the law firm of Clark, Glasgow and McClintock, LLC can help explain your rights and answer any questions you may have. Your license is too important to simply give it up without considering your legal options.

Understanding Implied Consent

In Illinois, you are deemed to have already given consent to chemical testing by simply driving a vehicle within the state ― a legal concept known as implied consent. Therefore, if a police officer has probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence and you refuse a chemical test, including a breath or blood test, he or she will likely attempt to suspend your license.

The length of your suspension depends on whether or not you are classified as a first-time offender, which is defined in Illinois as an individual who has not had another DWI/DUI offense within the prior five years. For instance:

  • A first-time offender will have his or her license suspended for one year following a breath test refusal.
  • A non-first-time offender ― meaning he or she has another drunk driving-related offense within the last five years ― will have his or her license suspended for three years following a breath test refusal.

However, if you have lost your license due to a refusal, you may request a hearing challenging this suspension. While this hearing cannot decide any underlying criminal charges, it may be able to restore your driving privileges. In most cases, it is often best to consult with an attorney when going through this process.

Contact Clark, Glasgow and McClintock, LLC For A Free Consultation

When a police officer asks you to take a breath test, you must weigh your options carefully. On one hand, if you refuse, you will limit the evidence that can be used against you in a subsequent criminal DWI/DUI trial, but you will have your licenses suspended nevertheless. On the other hand, if you take the test and fail, the probability of a DWI/DUI conviction will be enhanced, which is even more serious if you are a repeat offender.

As you can see, there are no easy answers when it comes to breath test refusals, but that does not mean you have no options. If you need legal guidance following DWI/DUI arrest or an alleged test refusal, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Clark, Glasgow and McClintock, LLC can help. While our office is located in Monmouth, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas, including those living in Knox, Warren and Stark counties, and all over West Illinois. For a FREE initial consultation, call us at 309-760-4602 or reach out to us online.