Refusing a Field Sobriety Test in Illinois

Drivers are capable of refusing a field sobriety test in Illinois to determine if they are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Before making a decision, drivers should consult with a lawyer. This allows people to get expert answers to their questions. In Illinois, there may be criminal charges and consequences for refusing a blood alcohol level test.

Police officers have the right to pull over drivers suspected of driving under the influence. They can administer standardized field sobriety tests, which are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These tests include the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, and Nystagmus. Law enforcement officers could also use breathalyzers and blood alcohol content tests.

To learn more, contact Chicago Traffic Lawyers’ experienced DUI defense attorneys for an initial consultation.

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Types of Standardized FSTs Used by Police Officers in Illinois

Law enforcement uses roadside sobriety tests to determine if someone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These tests assess a person’s physical and cognitive abilities and are administered at the roadside. Officers may ask initial questions or may get a smell of alcohol from someone to determine if they are impaired.

The three most common field sobriety tests are the HGN Test, Walk-and-Turn Test, and One Leg Stand Test.

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, drivers must follow an officer’s finger or pen with eye movements. Failing to do so can result in failing the test.
  • The Walk-and-Turn Test requires individuals to walk nine steps in a straight line, turn around, and walk nine more steps in the opposite direction.
  • The One Leg Stand Test requires drivers to lift one foot off the ground and count out loud for about thirty seconds. However, even sober people can fail this test.

The administration of field sobriety tests can only be carried out by trained officers.

Walk-and-Turn Test

The Walk-and-Turn Test is a common field sobriety test used by law enforcement in Illinois. It determines if a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Refusing the test could have legal consequences.

a field sobriety test form sitting on a desk

The test requires the driver suspected of DUI to walk heel-to-toe along a straight line, turn, and walk back. The officer watches for visible signs of impairment such as slurred speech, balance problems, or difficulty following instructions. However, people with physical disabilities may not pass this test.

One Leg Stand Test

The One Leg Stand is a field sobriety test used in Illinois to determine if a driver is impaired. The driver must stand on one leg with their arms at their sides and count out loud for 30 seconds without using their arms for balance. The officer will observe the driver’s balance and physical control to complete the test.

Related Content: What to expect after a DUI in Illinois?

Failing this standardized test could be used as evidence of impairment and could lead to an arrest for DUI or DWI in Illinois. If asked to take this test, it’s best to consult with a criminal defense attorney before making any decisions.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN)

The HGN test is commonly used during a field sobriety test in Illinois. It observes an individual’s eye jerking when they follow an object with their gaze to detect blood alcohol impairment. The officer moves a stimulus back and forth across their vision and watches for signs of impairment.

a person being subjected to a field sobriety test

Refusal to take the HGN test is a driver’s right in Illinois, but it may be seen as an admission of guilt and lead to severe penalties if charged with DUI. Drivers should consult with a criminal defense lawyer before deciding to take the HGN test.

Illinois Laws and Regulations Regarding FSTs

In Illinois, law enforcement administers field sobriety tests (or FST) for individuals suspected of DUI. These tests help officers determine impairment and potential arrest.

While FST can help officers, it’s crucial for individuals suspected of DUI in Illinois, or any state, to understand their legal rights before deciding whether or not they want an FST. In Illinois, all FSTs follow SFST guidelines established by NHTSA, ensuring consistency and accuracy of field sobriety testing.

Learn More: Penalties for a DUI in Illinois

Drivers in Illinois have the right not to take any field sobriety test, but this refusal may be used as drunk driving evidence in court. That’s why it’s recommended that drivers seek legal advice before making any decisions about field sobriety testing. 

Implied Consent Law in Illinois

In Illinois, having a valid driver’s license means giving implied driver consent to chemical blood alcohol testing if requested by a police officer. This applies when there is reasonable suspicion of impaired driving.

a police officer submitting a field sobriety test to a man

Refusal of chemical testing can result in statutory summary license suspension and be used as evidence of guilt in a DUI case. It’s best to consult an attorney before deciding whether or not to take a chemical test.

Consequences of Refusing an FST in Illinois

Illinois drivers suspected of DUI may have a field sobriety test. These tests include walking in a straight line, responding verbally, or tracking an object with the eyes. Police use them for determining impairment and potential DUI arrests.

Refusing an FST is allowed in Illinois, but it could be used as evidence in court and result in harsher penalties upon conviction. It’s wise for drivers pulled over in Illinois suspected of DUI, to speak with an attorney before deciding whether or not they should take an FST.

Our Lawyers Can Help You After Refusing a Field Sobriety Test in Illinois

If you are facing an intoxicated driving charge in Illinois after refusing to submit to a field sobriety test, the experienced attorneys at Chicago Traffic Lawyers can help. Our lawyers have years of experience assisting clients with their DUI cases and understand how important it is for those accused to build an effective legal defense.

We will work closely with you to create a defense strategy that minimizes your chances of facing serious driving privilege penalties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

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