Pulled Over for a DUI: Can I Refuse a Breath Test?

woman taking breathalyzer test out of car window

Illinois DUI Testing Methods

Field Sobriety Test

This test involves looking at factors that indicate inebriation. This includes the driver’s ability to walk, maintain balance, and follow commands. It isn’t legally required, so you can refuse to participate. Although refusal will lead to your arrest, it won’t result in any legal consequences related to the refusal itself.

Breath Test

There are two types of breath tests:

  • Preliminary Breath Screening Test (PBT)
  • Evidentiary Breath Test

The PBT occurs on the street at the time you're pulled over. PBTs are not certified and are less accurate than Evidentiary Breath Tests, which happen once you're in police custody. PBTs are not admissible as evidence in court. Instead, they determine probable cause. Therefore, you can refuse.

Refusing an Evidentiary Breath Test at the station has consequences. Illinois law states that a refusal will result in losing your license for a year. However, a refusal often makes it easier for your Chicago DUI attorney to prove your innocence in court.

Blood Test

If you refuse the breath tests, a judge may issue a warrant to have your blood tested. This will provide firm evidence of your blood alcohol level, and you won’t have the option to refuse.

Breath Test versus Blood Test: Which Should You Submit to?

In most cases, you’re going to want to refuse the PBT test if offered. You won’t face a license suspension for refusing, and the results are more likely to hurt your case than help.

Likewise, refusing the Evidentiary Breath Test also makes sense in many cases. Although you’ll face a license suspension, you’ll stand a better chance in court. A period with a suspended license is easier to deal with than a DUI conviction.

In short, don’t provide evidence that will harm your case, and contact your Chicago DUI attorney as swiftly as possible.

Protect Your Future: Help from the Toney Law Firm

Facing DUI charges can be difficult, but you’re not alone. We’re the Chicago criminal defense and DUI lawyers with a proven track record for success. With a client-focused attitude, we work hard to ensure the best outcome in court. Let us fight for your freedom. Please contact us now for a no-cost consultation.