What Happens If You Refuse To Take A BAC Test?

man refusing to take a blood alcohol content test

One question that is frequently asked of criminal lawyers in Illinois is, “What happens if you refuse to take a BAC test when you get pulled over for a DUI?” Refusing a blood alcohol content test after a DUI arrest can have serious consequences. Drivers who refuse the test may face various penalties. You are not required to submit to a preliminary breath test or other field sobriety tests before your arrest, however.

What if You Refuse a BAC Test After a DUI Arrest?

If you refuse to take a BAC test after an arrest in Illinois, the state’s Implied Consent Law comes into effect. Under this law, people who drive on public roads in the state have given their consent to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine. This law only applies if you are arrested for DUI, however. You are under no obligation to submit to a breathalyzer test unless you are arrested for driving under the influence. By refusing a BAC test after an arrest for DUI, you are violating this law.

What Are the Consequences of Refusing to Take a BAC Test After a DUI Arrest?

If you refuse a BAC test, the Illinois Summary Suspension Law holds that your driver’s license must be suspended for one year. There are often ways to challenge your license suspension in court. Additionally, if this is your first offense, you might be eligible for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). This type of permit allows you to drive with a breathalyzer, often referred to as an ignition interlock device, installed in your vehicle and any vehicles you drive. If you have a prior DUI convictions, or you have previously refused a BAC test, you are generally not eligible for an MDDP.

Prosecutors can also use your BAC test refusal against you in court. They may argue that your refusal to take a BAC test after your arrest is evidence of your guilt. The prosecutor can use your test refusal to imply to the jury that you knew you were intoxicated, and you were trying to avoid a positive BAC test result. 

Refusing a BAC test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted of driving under the influence. The prosecution may be able to obtain a conviction based on other evidence. This might include the arresting officer’s testimony about your behavior, field sobriety test results, or additional evidence that was collected during your DUI arrest.

You may also wish to consider the consequences you could face if you’re convicted of DUI. Depending on whether this is your first conviction or you have prior convictions, and whether there were aggravating factors, significant fines, community service, probation, or even jail time could be in your future. The court may also require you to attend an alcohol treatment program, or install an ignition interlock device in your car. Increased insurance premiums, difficulty finding employment, and damage to your reputation are other consequences you might face.

What if You Have Already Refused to Take a BAC after a DUI Arrest?

If you have already refused a BAC test after getting arrested for DUI, it’s not too late to get legal help. An experienced DUI defense attorney in Chicago will review the circumstances of your arrest, examine the evidence against you, and help you understand your legal options and the defenses that might be applicable to your case. For instance, your lawyer may be able to challenge the legality of the traffic stop to help you avoid or minimize the consequences of a DUI conviction.

Felony DUI lawyer Spiros Nicolet
Spiros Nicolet
Spiro Nicolet earned his Law Degree from Marquette University in 1991. Attorney Nicolet worked at Madgrigrano, Gagliardi, Zievers & Aiello during Law School and then worked for Westlaw the premier provider of legal research materials for law firms. Mr. Nicolet is active in a number of professional organizations including the American Bar Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Milwaukee Bar Association, a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Attorney Nicolet has also been admitted to practice in the Oneida Tribal Judicial System. Attorney Nicolet’s goal is to service every client with professionalism, respect and integrity.