Technically, no. Someone who has been arrested and charged with a DUI may choose to not take a breath or blood test that measures their blood alcohol content. However, refusing to submit to a test will have serious consequences due to Illinois' implied consent laws.
What Is Implied Consent?
Illinois' implied consent law states that a person who drives or is in physical control of a motor vehicle on the public highways is deemed to have given consent to a chemical test for the purpose of determining the content of alcohol in their blood. Additionally, Illinois has recently extend the implied consent law to include pre-arrest field sobriety tests with hand held breathalyzers.
What Are the Penalties for Refusing to Take a Chemical Test?
When someone is lawfully arrested for a DUI - over even simply stopped on suspicion of a DUI - and they refuse to submit to a BAC test, their driving privileges will be suspended. The summary suspension for refusing to take a BAC test is in addition to the standard penalties for DUI. Even if you are acquitted of DUI charges, you will still face the summary suspension:
- First Refusal: 1 year license suspension
- Second Refusal (within 5 years): 3 year license suspension
Do I Need a Lawyer?
DUIs are serious and have severe consequences. If you refused a chemical test when stopped on suspicion of a DUI or after being arrested, you should consider contacting a criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI defense immediately. An Illinois lawyer will be able to help you fight any charges and may be able to help you reduce your penalties.