Understanding Your Rights When Presented with a Breathalyzer in Illinois
Receiving a conviction of driving under the influence creates potentially irreparable impacts on an individual's driving record and reputation. From additional points on a driving record to your name visible on the local police blotter or news station, the side effects alone are a reason to avoid a DUI. In Illinois and around the country, police use portable breath tests, also known as breathalyzers, to create probable cause for the charge. Hundreds of unsuspecting motorists blindly agree to the procedure without question. However, when your future is in jeopardy, knowing your rights and when they are being infringed can prevent a problem before it begins.
Usage of Portable Breath Tests
Impaired drivers put themselves and others at risk for an accident. Understandably, police and lawmakers want to keep citizens safe, however, in many cases, their interests overshadow the rights of many of our clients. Many field officers inappropriately assess frightened drivers when no probable cause existed initially, giving them further reason to make an arrest if the result returns as positive. It is important to understand that the number on the breathalyzer does not mean a guaranteed conviction. PBTs do not measure alcohol directly. What they measure is methyl group compounds, which can indicate drinking alcohol in a rough estimation. However, a breathalyzer can register as alcohol with the presence of:
- Paint fumes,
- Gasoline from pumping gas, or
- Handling glue.
Is Compliance Necessary?
Many accused individuals question whether or not they are legally bound to participate in the breathalyzer. In Illinois, if you are not under arrest, the police do not have the right to demand a breathalyzer. Officers must partake in certain procedures to adhere to the law. These steps are:
- Perform a stop with probable cause,
- Make an arrest based on probable cause,
- Request the test,
- Explain consequences for failing or refusing to comply,
- Wait 20 minutes, and then
- Administer the test with a calibrated machine.
Weighing the Options
Regardless of your sobriety during a traffic stop, it is necessary to consider your choices. As a reminder, Illinois courts do not depend on how impaired the driver is, just how much alcohol is in the system at the time of test administration. If you now face DUI charges as a result of BAC of over the 0.08 legal limit, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. If you are interested in discussing your options with an Addison, IL DUI defense attorney, Stringini & Garvey, P.C.offer the highest quality representation to protect your rights and are available to take your case. Call us today to set up your free consultation at 630-834-9595. We are proud to offer 24-hour availability and look forward to providing the defense you deserve. We offer over 65 years of combined experienced to defend our clients in Maywood, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Bloomingdale, and all surrounding Chicagoland area.