Everyday we see in the media or hear stories from friends regarding Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests where a person is pulled over by a police officer and the officer suspects the person has been drinking. These stories of arrests spark people’s interests and raises questions as to what you can and cannot do if you are pulled over by a police officer and he/she asks if you’ve been drinking. This article is not going to tell you what you should do in that situation. Its purpose is to describe the consequences of refusing or testing over 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The decision to submit or refuse is up to each individual driver based on their own perceptions and factual scenario at the time they are requested to submit to testing.
If you refuse those tests, it does not mean the officer will not have enough evidence to place you under arrest. Smart police officers are trained to use other observations to develop probable cause to arrest for DUI, such as observing your movements while you get out of the car, speech patterns, bloodshot/glassy eyes, and asking you simple questions that a sober person would typically be able to answer with relative ease. Nevertheless, by performing these field sobriety tests, you only stand to incriminate yourself even more than you have already. That does not assume you are intoxicated and trying to hide evidence. It simply means that the tests are difficult for healthy people who are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We have all heard the line, “I couldn’t do these tests sober!” While it is not advisable to make any statement like that, there is some truth to that honest, albeit incriminating statement.
- A police officer pulls over a driver for speeding. Police officer smells alcohol on driver after pulling them over. Police officer arrests driver and driver blows into the breathalyzer and discloses a BAC of .11. Then, the officer suspects the driver is also under the influence of drugs and asks the driver to go with the officer to the hospital for further testing. The driver, upset it will take even longer, refuses to go to the hospital and tells the officer that he/she already blew into the breathalyzer and that should be good enough. The officer then marks the driver down as refusing ANY chemical test and the driver now faces a longer suspension as a result of this “refusal.” Even worse though, the driver already gave highly incriminating evidence of his guilt for DUI by blowing the breathalyzer earlier revealing his/her BAC at .11. In that situation, the driver received a longer suspension for refusing ANY testing lawfully requested by the officer AND they [the driver] gave evidence the prosecutors will use against him/her in court.
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The attorneys at Hall & Rustom LLC represent clients throughout the entire state of Illinois, including, but not limited to, the cities of Peoria, Morton, Washington, Pekin, Eureka, East Peoria, Dunlap, Metamora, Bartonville, Bloomington, Normal and any legal matter located in Peoria County, Tazewell County, Woodford County, Marshall County, Stark County, Henry County, Knox County and McLean County.
Jeff Hall is managing partner at Hall, Rustom & Fritz LLC and concentrates his law practice in Criminal Law, DUI & Traffic law, driver’s license reinstatement hearings and criminal record expungements.
If you have a legal question, email Jeff Hall.