You were on your way home from a night out on the town when the police pulled you over for a minor traffic violation.  They asked you to perform some field sobriety tests and take a breathalyzer.  Should you do it?  Here are some pros and cons:


(1) Taking the Test Cuts Down on the Length of Your Driver’s License Suspension:  After a DUI arrest, the Illinois Secretary of State will automatically suspend your driver’s license for a certain length of time (although you can try to fight this).  For a first-time DUI, the suspension lasts  six months.  If you refuse the tests, your suspension will be twice as long.

(2) If you’ve had very little to drink, the breathalyzer may show you were well below the limit of .08.  Likewise, if you ace the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests, you may win your case at trial. However,  if you drove badly, did poorly on the field sobriety  tests and generally looked lost, a low breathalyzer may not help. Further, you may not be the best judge of how drunk you really are, especially if you’ve had mixed drinks.


(1) If you take the tests, you may be handing the state the evidence it needs to convict you.  The state can charge you with two types of DUI–impaired driving and blowing over the .08 limit.  If you take the breathalzyer, you could guarantee a conviction on at least one of those charges.

(2) A high breathalyzer result may lead to a more severe sentence than if you hadn’t taken the tests or breathalzyer.

(3)  A high breathalzyer could also lead to longer and more expensive court-ordered alcohol treatment.

If you are charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can review the evidence in your case for its best possible defense.  Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have a question about this or another traffic or criminal matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or


About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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