Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?


Whether or not you did anything wrong, being pulled over by a police officer is never a walk in the park. These situations can be stressful and scary and may make you second guess what you should do in order to protect your legal rights.

As seasoned DUI attorneys, one of the most common questions we receive is whether or not someone who is pulled over by law enforcement can legally refuse to take a breathalyzer test.

What Is Implied Consent?

Driving is considered a privilege, not a right. As such, there are implied responsibilities that you have when you get behind the wheel and implied agreements that you consent to. According to Illinois’ “implied consent laws,” drivers agree to take blood alcohol content (BAC) tests in exchange for driving privileges.

What If I Refuse the Test?

If you do refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you could face certain legal and financial consequences, including:

  • A one-year driver’s license suspension, if you have not had a DUI conviction within the past five years

  • A three-year driver’s license suspension, if you have a prior DUI conviction in the last five years

  • Being placed under arrest for a DUI

  • The expense of a blood test (up to $500)

However, if you do submit to a breathalyzer test and it registers at or above the legal driving limit (0.08% BAC or higher), then you will be arrested automatically. If it is your first DUI, your license may be suspended for one year. Additionally, the evidence collected from your breathalyzer test can be used by the state to prove you guilty of a DUI.

Without the results of a chemical test, it makes it that much harder for the state to find you guilty. Instead, they will have to use evidence, such as the police officer’s testimony, field sobriety tests, dashcam footage, and witness testimonies, to convict you.

Need a DUI Attorney? Contact The Toney Law Firm

There is no simple yes or no answer when it comes to whether or not you should refuse to take a breathalyzer test. Ultimately, it will come down to the specific facts and circumstances of the case.

We understand that people make mistakes and some situations can simply be large misunderstandings. If you’ve been arrested or charged with a DUI in Chicago, our strategic criminal defense attorneys are standing by ready to protect your legal rights and help you obtain the best possible outcome.

Contact The Toney Law Firm at (888) 473-4058 to schedule your complimentary consultation with our legal team.