When the officer questions you
When stopped for a traffic violation or suspicion of driving while intoxicated the officer will no doubt- upon first encounter with the driver- use his judgment to determine whether or not he is going to pursue questioning that involves whether or not the operator of the vehicle has been consuming alcohol. At this point, it is important to remember that you are only being detained and not in custody, therefore your Miranda rights have not “attached.” This means that the officer may ask you incriminating questions like, “Have you been drinking?” You do not have to answer these questions. You may invoke your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself and decline to answer or remain silent.
When the officer wants to do field sobriety tests
The officer will next ask you to take a field sobriety test. You are not required under any law to participate in a field sobriety test and should politely decline any request to take one. In addition to politely declining, you should make a statement (since many officers wear recording devices) that you believe field sobriety tests are inherently subjective and naturally flawed. Next, the officer will ask you to take a breathalyzer test. Unfortunately, Illinois has an “implied consent” law that requires a person to submit to a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test when a police officer has probable cause to believe the operator of the vehicle is under the influence.
Should you refuse the test anyway?
If you decide to decline a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test and this is your first refusal, you will automatically lose your license for one year. If this is a subsequent offense, you will lose your license for three years. Of course, submitting to these tests will never help your case, but losing your license isn’t fun either. However, if convicted of DUI, the penalties will be much more sever than losing your license for a year. You will have to pay fines, most likely go to jail, and participate in community service. It is important to understand that refusing a breathalyzer or other test, you may still be convicted of DUI even if the prosecution does not have proof that your alcohol level was above .08%.
If you have been arrested on a DUI charge in Illinois or any other state, get help from an experienced DUI attorney. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for a DUI has serious consequences – especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent DUI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to contact a qualified Illinois DUI Defense Attorney immediately.