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Your Guide to Breathalyzer Tests in Illinois DUI Cases

 Posted on November 23, 2021 in DUI

Will County Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen we drink alcohol, the alcohol can be detected in our breath, urine, and blood. Often, the results of a chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test are a key component of an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). Breath tests, sometimes called Breathalyzers, analyze the alcohol on a person’s breath in order to approximate the person’s BAC. If you or a loved one have been arrested for drunk driving, it is important to understand how breathalyzer results can impact the case.

Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer in Illinois?

When police officers suspect a driver of drunk driving, they usually ask the driver to take a breath test. The subject blows into the device and the device registers a number representing that person’s estimated blood alcohol content. The use of the term “estimated” is intentional. Roadside breathalyzers are considered “preliminary breath tests.” These devices can estimate the amount of alcohol a person drank but they are not accurate enough to be entered as evidence in a DUI case.  Preliminary breath tests are used to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest. You have the right to refuse a preliminary breathalyzer.

The breath test used at the police station is more reliable than the portable breath tests used during a traffic stop. You do not have the right to refuse this “evidentiary breath test” per Illinois’ implied consent laws. If you refuse a breath test after being arrested for DUI, you face an immediate one-year driver’s license suspension.

Are Breathalyzers Always Accurate?

Breath tests usually yield an accurate blood alcohol level. However, like all technological devices, they can sometimes malfunction. Breathalyzers must be properly maintained and calibrated. When this maintenance is neglected, the device can register false-positive results. Breath test results may also be inaccurate if the person conducting the test does not administer the test correctly. An individual’s diet, or medical condition can also impact BAC readings. For example, the increasingly popular keto diet can result in the production of acetone which can yield a false positive on some breathalyzer tests.

Can You Get Out of a DUI Even if You Blew Over 0.08 Percent?

In 49 out of the 50 U.S. states, a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more is considered “intoxicated per se” or intoxicated according to the law. Many people assume that a BAC result over the legal limit automatically results in a conviction for DUI. However, it is possible to be acquitted of DUI or have your charges dismissed even if a breathalyzer result was higher than 0.08 percent.

Contact an Aurora DUI Defense Lawyer

If you were charged with drunk driving, contact Naperville criminal defense attorney Patricia Magaña for help. Call 630-448-2001 for a free initial consultation.




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