If you have followed the news related to drunk driving laws, you realize that the laws change often. Safety advocates may push for stronger laws with stricter sentences, but civil rights groups push back in defense of the rights of the accused.
One important issue is the rights of those accused of drunk driving to refuse to submit to breath or blood tests. Refusing to consent may result in additional penalties. However, how far can police go to obtain the blood alcohol concentration measurement they need to prove you are impaired behind the wheel?
Implied consent laws in Illinois mean you must submit to a BAC test after police arrest you on suspicion of DUI. However, a Supreme Court ruling in 2013 stated that when police force you to submit to a blood test to measure your BAC, that intrusion is a violation of your constitutional rights. If you refuse to give your breath for a BAC test, police can still force you to give your blood. However, they must first obtain a warrant.
Waiting for police to find a judge, make their case for probable cause and obtain a signature on a warrant may take hours, especially if your arrest occurs at night. During that time, your body metabolizes any alcohol you may have consumed, and the test may not reveal the true level of alcohol in your blood at the time of your arrest, leaving police with little evidence to convict you of DUI.
Speeding up the process with no-refusals
Illinois now takes advantage of technology and uses electronic warrants if you refuse to comply with a breath test. Through an internet connection, police can contact an on-call judge for an instant search warrant to draw your blood. The officer still must provide probable cause to the judge, but the process goes much faster. In some jurisdictions, police officers receive certification to do the blood draws themselves right at the scene.
If you are facing DUI charges, you have a lot at stake. Your attorney may begin building your case by examining the steps police took to obtain your BAC levels and determining whether officers overstepped their boundaries. Knowing your rights, the limitations of police and where you can turn for legal support is critical to avoiding the penalties that accompany a drunk driving conviction you may not deserve.