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Blood and Breath Tests

Peoria DUI Lawyer Explains Blood and Breath Tests

Blood and breath tests are different ways that the police can measure a driver's BAC level to determine whether or not the individual is driving under the influence of alcohol. These tests are critical, as the results often determine the innocence or guilt of the suspect. Our Peoria DUI lawyers understand how tests should be administered as well as their many flaws.

Breath Tests

Breath tests measure the blood-alcohol content prevalent in the breath of the suspect. The test does not measure the scent of the breath, but rather the amount of alcoholic content in the exhaled air. These tests are done with a breathalyzer, which is a small handheld machine.

The police officer will hold the machine while the suspect breathes out into a nozzle. The machine will then detect the breath and reveal a BAC level. Breath tests don't necessarily measure the amount of alcohol in the blood, which means that they can sometimes be inaccurate.

Also, the machines can often malfunction, or if the test is not performed correctly then the reading won't be accurate. Despite the potential for a false reading, breath tests are used more often than blood tests because the police officer can administer the test right there on the road.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are completed by drawing blood samples from the suspect and sending them to a lab for analysis. These tests are often more accurate than a breath test, but they take longer to complete. Also, police officers aren't allowed to administer the blood test on their own unless licensed to do so. Normally, the officer must take the suspect to the police station and get a licensed nurse to draw blood, or must take the suspect to a hospital to get the test done.

Blood tests are also more accurate at reading drug levels, as breathalyzers often only gauge a person's alcoholic content. Even though blood samples are more accurate, there are times that lab technicians can still make mistakes which will result in a false reading.

For example, sometimes lab workers will leave the blood samples out for too long, causing the chemicals in the blood to coagulate or decompose. This can result in an unnecessarily high reading. Also, technicians have been known to mix up blood samples and send the wrong results to the wrong police stations.

Illinois is an implied consent state.

In the state of Illinois, DUI suspects are required to submit to blood, breath, or urine tests as requested regardless of whether they are intoxicated. This is because Illinois is considered an implied consent state. This means that the laws in Illinois imply that all drivers agree to submit to any chemical tests requested in a traffic stop.

If a driver fails to submit to these tests, he or she can be punished through due process of the law, regardless of whether or not the driver was intoxicated. This means that even if a driver is innocent of a DUI, he or she may still suffer punishment for violating the implied consent statutes.

Penalties for Refusing the Tests

If you refuse to take a blood or breath test, you can be punished according to the Illinois laws. For a first DUI offense, refusing to take a chemical test will result in a one year license suspension. If this is your second, third or subsequent DUI offense, then you will receive a three year license suspension if you refuse to take a test.

The court is also at liberty to add additional penalties such as an ignition interlock device, an additional fine, or another punishment for refusing to take these tests.

Contact a Peoria DUI attorney at our firm to learn more!

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