When Illinois residents obtain a driver’s license, they consent to submit to toxicology testing when ordered to do so by a law enforcement officer. An officer may make this request either before or after taking a motorist into custody on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. However, officers must issue the driver in question a traffic citation and be able to establish that they had probable cause to believe that they were intoxicated before making the request. Probable cause may be established by the driver’s demeanor or their performance during field sobriety exercises.
Preliminary testing is usually done at the roadside using portable breath testing equipment. However, police officers may take drivers to law enforcement facilities and ask them to provide blood or urine samples in some situations. Motorists who have been arrested for drunk driving in Illinois are not permitted to speak with an attorney before submitting to a toxicology test. This is because the amount of intoxicating substances found in a motorist’s breath, blood or urine can diminish rapidly and time is of the essence.
If the initial blood or breath test is inconclusive, Illinois law allows police officers to order a further two chemical tests. Those in physical control of a motor vehicle may be ordered to submit to these tests even if they are not actually driving. Control is generally defined as being in possession of the key to a vehicle and having the ability to start it.
Criminal defense attorneys in Illinois may recommend that their clients submit to toxicology testing when ordered to do so by a sworn law enforcement officer. This is because refusing this request will result in a mandatory driver’s license suspension. Attorneys could also encourage compliance because the results of blood, breath or urine tests are not always reliable and may be challenged in certain situations.