You are driving home from a night out. You may have been drinking, using cannabis, or using illegal drugs. You forget to turn on your headlights, you fail to signal a turn or a lane change, you fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, your license plate is expired, or you allegedly commit some other violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code. Police initiate a traffic stop and you pull over without incident.
An officer will begin a Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI) investigation if he or she suspects you have been drinking, using cannabis, or using illegal drugs. YOU are now the subject of a police investigation. Notwithstanding everything you may have been taught in grade school, at this moment, THE POLICE OFFICER IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.
You do not want to voluntarily provide evidence of impairment. You must provide your driver’s license and proof of liability insurance if asked by the police officer. You must also exit your vehicle if the police officer asks. The police officer does not have to provide a reason to ask for your driver’s license and proof of liability insurance or to ask you to exit your vehicle.
You do not have to answer questions. You do not have to tell the police officer whether you were drinking, using cannabis, or using illegal drugs. You do not have to say where you were going or where you have been. You can refuse a prearrest request to search your vehicle. (Police will search your vehicle if you are arrested.)
The DUI investigation may include a request to perform one or more of three standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) or to perform non standardized tests. You may be asked to follow a pen with your eyes, to walk a straight line, or to balance on one foot. You do not have to perform these tests. The police officer may ask you provide a breath test at the scene of the traffic stop. You may decline to provide this breath sample.
There are consequences for refusing the SFSTs and the breath test at the scene of the traffic stop. IT IS LIKELY YOU WILL BE ARRESTED FOR DUI IF YOU REFUSE THESE TESTS! But you will not have provided evidence of impairment from alcohol, cannabis, or illegal drug use beyond the reason for the initial traffic stop.
You will be asked to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample (police officer’s choice) after you are arrested and taken to a police station. You do not have comply with this request. The consequences of refusing breath, blood, or urine testing at the police station are you will be subject to a longer Statutory Summary Suspension than if you provide a breath, blood, or urine sample greater than the legal limit. You will not provide “scientific” evidence you violated the DUI statute (625 ILCS 5/11-501) if you refuse breath, blood, or urine testing after your arrest.