SHOULD I TAKE THE BREATH TEST AFTER AN ILLINOIS DUI STOP?

I have written two books primarily directed toward answering this question. There is no easy answer. The correct answer for one driver will not be the correct answer for the next driver. There is a multitude of issues that must be considered before making the proper decision in such a matter – and those issues usually only become evident in hindsight.

To begin with I will describe what happens when you are arrested for DIU. To be arrested there must first be a reasonable suspicion that you are violating a law. This suspension is usually speeding, or weaving (either in your lane or out of your lane). You may already have been recorded by a dashboard camera before the stop, so many times, the allegations of reasonable suspicion might be recorded, and not subject only to the testimony or memory of you and the officer.

After turning on his colored lights, the officer will direct you to the side of the road, all the time, he will be making either DVD recordings, or mental notes of your decision where to park your car – drive too far, choose an inappropriate location, or drive erratically and the officer will have more evidence to use against you.

All DIU arrest encounters begin the same way: “May I see your driver’s license and proof of insurance please?” the polite officer will ask.

HAVE YOUR LICENSE AND INSURANCE READY BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE PLACE WHERE YOU WERE DRINKING!!!

If you are scrambling around under the seat, or in the glove box as the officer walks up to you, you may give him the reason to believe that you are reaching for a gun, and he will greet you with one. If you have been drinking, the officer will smell alcohol coming from car, and will nonchalantly ask if you have had anything to drink tonight. You are under no obligation to answer this question, but whether you answer or not, your reply may later be presented to a judge or jury at your trial. If you have been drinking, answer honestly, but don’t tell the officer how much you have had to drink. When he asks, ask him if you are being arrested for DUI. If he says no, and you tell him you had one drink, you may not be arrested. If he says yes, it is not to your advantage to offer any evidence that can be used against you.

He’s going to offer to let you go if you convince him you are not under the influence of alcohol – but wait a minute! It is his job to prove that you ARE guilty if arrested. It’s not your job to prove your innocence. He will tell you that if you don’t cooperate you will but put under arrest, will have to post bail, and you will have your car towed – all of which will cost you from $500 to $1,000 depending on where you are arrested, even if you are later proven not guilty.

OK, here’s the solution to this scenario. If you have never been arrested for DUI before, if you have never had a statutory summary suspension before, if you are certain you have a blood level that is below .08, if you have witnesses who will testify how much you have had to drink, if you have no legal or illegal drugs in your system that could effect your ability to drive, if you know you can pass the field sobriety tests, if your driving has not suggested that you are drunk, and if you have a witness in the car with you who will testify as to what happens at the scene of the traffic stop – cooperate with the officer and demonstrate your innocence.

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