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What Happens if I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?


Many individuals are confused about the law regarding breathalyzer tests and whether or not you are obligated to submit to them. Every state has what is known as an “implied consent” rule, which means you must submit to chemical testing or face the consequences of your refusal.

Explaining Implied Consent

Do you operate a motor vehicle and drive on public roads? By doing so, you have consented to be tested for alcohol and other intoxicants that can potentially impair your judgment. However, this only applies once the law enforcement officer arrests you for driving under the influence. Therefore, you would only be subjected to a license suspension if you refused a breathalyzer test after your arrest.

Of course, chemical testing encompasses more than just a breath test. It also includes urine and blood tests. In the event that you are unconscious, Illinois law does not permit the withdrawal of consent. As such, law enforcement can legally acquire samples for testing without waiting for you to regain consciousness.

Forced Testing

Under certain rare circumstances, it is possible for a driver to be forced to submit to chemical testing for drugs or alcohol. If you were arrested for a DUI-related accident that resulted in injuries or death, you might not be able to refuse chemical testing. If law enforcement officers are able to obtain a warrant to test for alcohol or other substances, you would be compelled to submit to testing. Given how quickly alcohol metabolizes, however, this is a rare occurrence.

Understanding the Consequences

In Illinois, if you refuse a chemical test, such as a breath test, you will face a one-year license suspension. You will then attend a hearing regarding your suspension. At this stage, it is still possible to reverse your refusal-based suspension if:

  • You can prove you were not under arrest when you refused testing
  • You can prove the police officer did not inform you of the consequences of a refusal
  • You can prove you did not make a knowing refusal

Defeating a refusal-based suspension is not common, so most drivers who refuse chemical testing while under arrest for a DUI can expect their license to be suspended for up to a year.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today!

Were you arrested for a DUI recently? You do not have to resign yourself to defeat, no matter what the circumstances are. At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our attorney has over two decades of experience in standing up for the rights of his clients and a proven history of success.

Contact our office today at (312) 436-0638 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We are available 24/7 to answer your call.