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The ISBA Advises – Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

Question: Can a motorist refuse to take a Breathalyzer test when stopped by police?

Answer: Under Illinois’ implied consent law, any person with a driver’s license agrees to abide by certain rules, including submitting to a breath or blood test if police suspect that you may be driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). You have the right to refuse the test, but that decision has consequences. The first time you refuse, you face an automatic one-year suspension of your driver’s license. At the time of the stop, you will receive paperwork from the police officer which serves as a 45-day driving permit, after which your driver’s license will be suspended. You have 30 days to request a hearing to preserve your driving privileges or seek a restricted driving permit.

Anyone with a question about a legal matter can talk to a lawyer at no cost on the Illinois State Bar Association’s 33rd Annual Ask-a-Lawyer Day on Saturday, April 26th, from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact options include two toll-free numbers, Skype and email. For details, visit

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Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit