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Is It Wise To Refuse Testing During a DUI Traffic Stop? When a driver is stopped by a law enforcement official and the officer suspects that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is easy to panic. Interactions with law enforcement can be generally uneasy, especially when it becomes apparent that the officer believes you may be inebriated. Despite the stresses of a DUI traffic stop, it is important to remain composed and understand how your actions can impact your future. In some instances, the best decision you can make during a DUI traffic stop is refusing chemical testing. 

Refusing Field Sobriety Testing

In the state of Illinois, it is perfectly legal to refuse a field sobriety test. If an officer requests that you take part in a field sobriety test, they are looking for evidence to back up an arrest. While refusal of a field sobriety test will likely result in an arrest, it will limit the evidence that can be used against you in the case. It is important to remain calm throughout this process and politely refuse field sobriety testing. Any aggressive behavior towards the officer can negatively impact you moving forward. 

Refusing Chemical Testing

Refusal to take part in chemical testing will come with some consequences, but not a criminal conviction. Refusal to submit to chemical testing is an administrative offense that will come with a one-year statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license. In the state of Illinois, drivers that refuse to submit to chemical testing are eligible to drive with a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). You will have to pay for installing a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on your vehicle and follow the restrictions of the MDDP for the remainder of your suspension. If this is the second time you have refused chemical testing, it will result in a three-year license suspension. While refusing to submit will cost you money and a license suspension, it will not result in the Class A misdemeanor that accompanies a DUI conviction. 

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IL DUI lawyerWhen a police officer suspects a driver of DUI, the officer has to gather sufficient evidence to support that suspicion. If the officer does not build a strong enough case, the driver cannot be charged with and eventually convicted of DUI.

What kind of evidence are we talking about? There are four kinds of evidence that can be used to support a DUI conviction. Specific rules apply to each type of evidence, including whether or not a driver can refuse to participate and what happens if the driver refuses.

1. Law Enforcement Observations

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Illinois DUI lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyDrivers who have had a few too many drinks before getting on the road pose a risk to themselves and others. Logically, police want to protect the community while also doing their job so they can provide for their families. In many cases, the field sobriety tests given at a stop are conducted illegally, regardless of intention. If the officer failed to adhere to the law and structure required to make a DUI stop or arrest, the integrity of the test becomes questionable. It is increasingly common for officers to wear or utilize video recording devices for a stop. This video evidence becomes useful in court.

Traditional FST Methodologies Are Inaccurate

Most of the commonly conducted field sobriety tests have been around for years, or decades. They say that if something is not broken, do not fix it. However, just because something is common practice does not make it right, either. The intention of the examinations is to determine impairment of psychomotor and cognitive functions. The theory is that if the individual is unable to follow directions and pay attention, they were not logically able to do so in a car. The three most frequent examinations are the “walk and turn,” the “one-legged stand,” and the "horizontal gaze nystagmus.” If any of the tests show any mistakes, notes claiming impairment go into the report. The pitfall of these tests is the situation in which the test is administered is not under normal circumstances. The surroundings and the experience cause adverse negative reactions, which also slow motor functions. The following factors have nothing to do with intoxication but can affect the results:

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