Breath Test Refusal and Failure Consequences

Springfield’s finest driver’s license hearing attorneys, Harvatin Law Offices, is located just minutes away from the Illinois Secretary of State Administrative Hearings Office. Led by an experienced former hearings officer, we provide the knowledge and expertise of a big firm without the exorbitant fees.

Mr. Harvatin and his friendly staff prove that local, quality service does not have to come from the Windy City. We are dedicated to helping in- and out-of-state drivers reinstate their driving privileges after a suspension or revocation.

Consequences of Refusing or Failing a Breath Test

Illinois is an “implied consent” state, which means that all drivers who do not are consent to chemical testing upon request by a law enforcement officer are subject to penalties. The officer must have “reasonable suspicion” to ask for a breath test, such as visible signs of intoxication.

If the driver refuses to take the breath test or registers a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend the driver’s license. The period of suspension is longer for DUI offenders who refuse chemical testing. Seek legal advice immediately if you have been charged with a DUI.

Length of Suspension

The length of suspension depends upon whether this is your “first” offense and whether you consented to the breath test. The consequences are outlined below:

  • First offender means that you have no DUI arrests in the previous 5
    • Failure of breath test results in 6-month suspension
    • Refusal to take breath test results in 12-month suspension
  • Non-first offender means you had a DUI arrest within the last 5 years or
    • Failure of breath test results in 12-month suspension
    • Refusal to take breath test results in 3-year suspension

Illinois takes DUI offenses seriously and exacts stricter license sanctions for those who refuse the chemical test. But as a legal tactic, first time offenders should consider refusing the chemical test and obtain legal counsel to defend their refusal later.

No driver should ever consent to a field sobriety or portable breath test administered at the scene of the traffic stop. The results are generally inaccurate, but may still be used as evidence against you.

Challenging Breath Machine Results

Failing a breath test does not equal a conviction. The human body contains hundreds of compounds, many of which have a similar molecular structure to ethanol. By identifying these compounds, breath machines can inflate a driver’s BAC level. Other challenges to breath test results include:

  • Tester’s skill and experience
  • Quality of testing equipment
  • Poor sample, exhalation too long
  • Recent exposure to flammable substance
  • Hyperthermia or elevated body temperature
  • Holding breath, hypoventilation before sampling
  • Medical condition like COPD, respiratory disease, diabetes, GERDS

In addition to the machine’s scientific uncertainty, there are additional, constitutional bases to challenge your test results. If the police improperly stopped or arrested you, failed to provide the proper warnings, or made any mistakes during the breath test, the results may be successfully challenged.

If there is any doubt about the test’s accuracy or the circumstances of your detention, the results cannot be used as evidence against you. The case against you will be weakened.

Consult a Skilled DUI Lawyer to Fight the Charge

The Harvatin Law Offices have extensive experience challenging DUI charges and other issues affecting driver’s license hearings. It is imperative to call as soon as you are in trouble to maximize your chances of a good outcome or setting you on the most efficient path to reinstatement. Never make a plea, sign an admission, or try to obtain driving relief without first consulting a lawyer. Call (217) 525-0520 for confidential consultation or contact us online.

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