A DUI arrest almost always involves one or more chemical tests. A chemical test is a way for law enforcement to measure the alcohol or drugs in your system at the time of your arrest. There are several tests that are available to law enforcement. The most common tests are the breath, blood and urine tests. You might wonder if you get to choose the type of test to take in your case.
The law allows the law enforcement agency to choose
The law that governs chemical testing in Illinois DUI cases is 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1. The law says that every driver suspected of drunk driving must give a sample of blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance. That covers any type of test the officer has to offer. The law says that the law enforcement agency that employs the arresting officer gets to choose the type of test.
You don’t get to choose the type of test to take. It isn’t even up to the officer to choose the type of test. Instead, the law enforcement agency likely has protocols for their officers to determine what type of test to administer in your case. The officer will usually follow the rules of their department and give the type of test that’s standard for a case like yours.
They can ask you to take more than one test
The law even allows the arresting officers to ask you to submit to more than one type of test. In total, they can administer one, two or three tests. They may ask you to submit two breath samples. However, in most cases, they don’t ask you to take a breath test and a blood test or a blood test and a urine test. In most cases, they administer only one type of test. You can also ask for an independent test performed by a medical professional of your choosing.
In most cases, you take a breath test
Most of the time, the law enforcement officer is going to ask you to take a breath test. That’s because the breath test is generally the easiest to administer. The law enforcement agency typically keeps the breath testing instrument at the police station. It’s relatively easy for law enforcement to turn on the breath test machine and explain what you need to do.
The breath test is also the only test that produces instant results. The officer can see the results of your breath test in a matter of a few seconds. A blood test can take months to send to the lab and receive the results. A urine test can also take significant time to return a result. You have a right to a speedy trial and resolution of your case, and waiting months for test results can be problematic for law enforcement. They prefer to have the test results as soon as possible so that they can decide whether to pursue charges.
In cases of suspected drug DUI, you may take a blood test
The breath test is the preferred test when law enforcement suspects you of operating under the influence of alcohol. However, when drugs are involved, a breath test isn’t adequate. That’s because a person’s breath doesn’t have any drugs in it. Breath contains alcohol from a person’s body, but it doesn’t contain drugs.
If your case involves suspicion of drug use, law enforcement will likely ask you to take a blood test. The officer doesn’t draw your blood themselves. Instead, they may have a medical professional at the police station draw your blood, or they may transport you to a medical facility. The implied consent is the same for both types of tests. You must take the blood test if that’s what the officer asks you to take.
Are the tests all the same?
There are some differences between the various tests. The blood test may produce a higher result than the same individual may receive taking a breath test. In all cases, the time that lapses between the time of your arrest and the time of your test may create doubt as to whether the test result is an accurate measure of your bodily alcohol or drug level at the time of your driving. Your attorney can help you explore how to challenge the evidence if your case goes to trial.
What tests will I take on the side of the road?
Law enforcement may have a handheld breath test machine with them when they’re on patrol. They can give you this preliminary breath test in order to determine whether to arrest you for DUI with alcohol. If the police suspect you of DUI with drugs, they can only administer a blood test after they formally make an arrest.
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