Information Requested by a Police Officer
You are only obligated to provide a driver's license and proof of insurance and/or vehicle registration to the officer upon request. Other details such as whether or not alcohol or drugs were consumed, your whereabouts prior to the traffic stop, where you were headed, etc. need not be provided to the officer. You can politely tell the officer that you will not be providing the answers to those questions. You need not explain your choice to the officer if he or she persists in questioning you. If the officer places you under arrest for DUI, he should not initiate any communication or questioning of you unless he has provided you with your Miranda rights (commonly known as your right to remain silent, etc.). Do not volunteer information or spontaneously discuss your actions because they can be held against you regardless of whether your Miranda rights have been read or not.
Field Sobriety Tests
Under Illinois law there is no legal requirement to submit to field sobriety tests ('FSTs'). FSTs are physical performance tests usually requested by the police on the street after a traffic stop but PRIOR to your arrest. Examples of FSTs include the walk and turn test, one leg stand test, finger to nose test, etc. The FSTs requested by the officer on the street should always be refused since there is no penalty for refusing these tests. These tests are generally subjective and unreliable. In the case of the FSTs, remember that they are being graded by the officer whose generally has already decided to arrest you for DUI. A polite and direct statement to the officer that you will not take the tests being requested is usually a good response. Remember that the police typically do not (and need not) inform you of your right to refuse these tests in a DUI investigation.
Preliminary Breath Test
Furthermore, there is no penalty for refusing the breath test that a person is asked to submit to, usually on the street, PRIOR to your arrest for DUI. This test is known as a preliminary breath test.
Evidentiary Breath Test
HOWEVER, a person's license may be suspended for failing or refusing the separate breath test at the police station which is requested AFTER you have been arrested. This test is known as an evidentiary breath test. Sometimes, it is in your interest to take the breath test offered at the police station when you are certain that the amount of alcohol consumed could not reasonably result in a breath alcohol concentration ("BAC") result of .08 or more. If there is any doubt regarding your potential BAC level, it is best to refuse this test as well.
Contact an Attorney
The law in Illinois governing driving while under the influence ('DUI') is extremely complex. A charge of DUI is generally comprised of 2 separate cases: 1) A summary suspension of your license and driving privileges based on submitting to and failing a chemical test (breath, blood and urine) or refusing the request for testing; and 2) The criminal charge(s) for DUI which can result in jail, fines and the revocation of driving privileges upon conviction. Motions for discovery, subpoenas, pre-trial motions, and requests for driving relief need to be prepared, filed and presented properly before the court. Having an experienced attorney is essential and will allow you to know exactly which defenses may be available in your case and will guide you so that the legal consequences of your arrest and effect on your life are minimized.
The Law Office of Davis & LaScola
The Law Offices of Davis & LaScola regularly represent clients in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, McHenry and Will Counties. If you seek skilled, effective and knowledgeable representation in a DUI, traffic or other criminal matter; or if you seek the restoration of your driving privileges after being revoked or suspended, even if you reside out-of-state, we look forward to hearing from you.