The number of drunk-driving arrests, convictions, and checkpoints, are becoming more of the norm than the exception in this region of the country. With a rise in these type cases, it seems that everyone seems to have their own story or opinion about what happens if you are pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Refusing to take the breath test can result in some very severe consequences, including being forced to take a blood test.
There are a few scenarios about being forced to submit to a blood alcohol test when having refused the breath test;
Refusing to Take the Breath Test
The officer most likely pulled over your car because you exhibited driving patterns that hinted that you might be impaired. After some questioning and consenting to sobriety tests, the officer wants to confirm their suspicions by giving you a breath test to see your blood alcohol level. By the same token, you might have been driving along and rolled up on a DUI checkpoint, and the officer feels you are exhibiting signs of being intoxicated and wants to test you. Refuse the breath test at this point, and serious consequences await you down the road. When the officer wants to test your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), you have the right to refuse, but you also risk jail time or having your license suspended.
Although refusing to take the breath test doesn’t always mean you are under arrest at that point, the prosecutor in your case will then rely more heavily of field sobriety testing, witness testimony, officer observations, and other evidence collected by the officer during the stop. Depending on the jurisdiction, the refusal to take the breath test will be used against you in court.
The Law of Implied Consent
One of the things that you may have forgotten back when you first got your driver’s license was that driving a vehicle in the state is not a right, it is a privilege. Refusing to take the breath test could result in the court ruling to levy hefty fines, put you in jail, and revoke your license. Concerning the implied consent law, when you agreed to get your driver’s license, you have implicitly consented to breath testing in exchange for the privilege of driving a vehicle. When you refuse to take the breath test, you are essentially surrendering your privilege to drive a vehicle.
Although the penalty for not submitted the breath test could be up to 12 month loss of license, those who have prior DUI convictions could face longer suspensions. There are some drivers who feel that the penalty for not taking the breath test is a fraction of what the penalty could have been for conviction of a third DUI arrest, so they roll the dice. In one alarming statistic provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 20 percent of drivers suspected of being intoxicated will refuse to take the breath test this year.
Enforcement of No-Refusal Law
With the NHTSA showing that almost a fifth of intoxicated drivers are trying to get out of being arrested by refusing to take the breath test, the state has implemented no-refusal laws to catch these suspects looking to avoid incrimination. Thanks to modern technology, the days of having to wait to get a warrant or the approval of a judge are a click away with mobile devices. These new initiatives are designed to force the drunk-driving suspect to have to submit to testing by way of authority of the warrant. The police officer simply uses a mobile device to procure the electronic warrant, helping to avoid the suspect being able to simply sober up before a paper warrant was obtained. Now if the driver refuses the breath test after the officer obtained the electronic warrant, the officer could draw blood by force which also carry serious contempt charges.
Depending on where the DUI stop occurred, it might be possible for the driver to contact an attorney prior to making the decision as to which chemical test they should submit to during the stop.
Refusing to take the breath test could negatively impact your ability to drive for years to come, as well as cost you heavily in fines. Rather than accept the lengthy license suspension, speak with a Chicago DUI attorney so they can analyze the specifics of your can and better determine if the stop was lawful and your rights upheld.
Don’t assume you have the answers as to what happens when you refuse to take the breath test, consult with a DUI attorney and get the answers today. Even if you already refused the testing and are awaiting trial, consult with a Chicago DUI attorney who has experience in getting a favorable result for their clients.