New Law Amends DUI Laws in Illinois
Last month, a new law went into effect amending the laws regarding chemical testing for driving under the influence (DUI). When a law enforcement officer detains a driver suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence, he or she must oversee a series of tests to evaluate the driver’s level of intoxication. One of these tests is a chemical evaluation in which the breath or blood of the driver is analyzed. The new law clarifies an officer’s obligation to verbalize specific warnings before administering the test concerning the consequences of a refusal.
In Illinois, a driver who is lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that the driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is considered to have given implied consent to submitting to a chemical test of either blood, breath, or urine to determine blood alcohol content. Drivers do not have the right to speak to an attorney before the test is administered and the arresting officer is allowed to choose which test the driver will take.
Even if a driver has not been arrested, but is merely suspected of driving under the influence, a police officer can still insist on a preliminary breath test, which can be used to establish probable cause for an arrest. A driver is not required to submit to this preliminary test.
Once a driver is placed under arrest, the officer is required to warn the individual that a refusal to take the test will result in the suspension of his or her driver’s license for one year. If a driver has refused a test on prior occasions, then the term of suspension will increase to three years.
Senate Bill 627
According to the new law, when a driver suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence is requested to submit to a chemical test, he or she must sign an acknowledgement of the receipt of the warnings about the consequences of a refusal. The writing establishes that the driver was warned that refusing to take the test or failing the chemical test could result in the loss of driving privileges. In the event that a driver refuses to acknowledge that he or she received any warnings, law enforcement officers are directed to make a written notation on the warning explaining that the driver refused to sign. Finally, a driver’s refusal to sign the warning cannot be used as evidence that he or she was not read the warning by the officer.
A conviction for driving under the influence can have devastating consequences, from fines to probation to a jail sentence. Refusing to submit to a chemical test can also have serious consequences, such as suspension of a driver’s license. If you have been arrested for or charged with a DUI, please contact the dedicated Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC for a free consultation.