What Is The Procedure For The Evidential Breathalyzer Test In Illinois?
There are two breathalyzer tests used in Illinois. One of them would usually be administered at the time that you’re pulled over. The officer is going to make observations of you and determine whether or not they feel you’re under the influence of alcohol. But before they make that determination and arrest you, they’re going to take into consideration the way that you were driving, as well as any other observations they’ve made, including bloodshot eyes, a strong odor of alcohol and slurred speech. They’re going to take into account your performance or lack thereof during the field sobriety tests (walk the line, raise one leg, touch your nose), and they’re also going to ask you to blow into what they call a Portable Breath Test (PBT) machine.
A PBT is a relatively accurate device that determines your blood alcohol concentration. However, it’s not accurate enough that the courts will admit it into evidence should the case go to trial. It will not be a factor in determining your guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. If you were to file a pre-trial motion, such as the motion to suppress evidence, then the courts will take the PBT into consideration when determining whether or not the officer acted appropriately. So, the PBT would be the first chemical test that might pop up during an overall criminal proceeding, but it is admissible only at a pretrial hearing to determine whether or not the officer exercised reasonableness and established probable cause to arrest the individual for DUI. As mentioned before, it’s not admissible if the case were to go to trial. If the case were to go to trial, only the breathalyzer test that is done at the station would be admitted into evidence. After they arrest you and bring you to the station, they can follow certain procedures and request that you blow into the machine.
They can then go one step further by asking you to submit to a blood test in order to determine whether or not there are drugs or alcohol in your system. The machine at the station would only analyze if you had alcohol in your system. However, a blood test could also determine whether or not you had any illegal drugs in your system.
Whether you’re blowing into the machine at the station or submitting to a blood test at the hospital, there are procedures that the police and/or medical technicians need to follow in order for the evidence to be admissible. In terms of taking the breathalyzer test at the station once you’ve already been arrested, the officer has to read you what they call a warrant to motorist.
A warrant to motorist tells you that he’s going to be asking you to submit to a chemical test, whether it is a breath test or a blood test. It also informs you of what’s going to happen if you refuse to blow into the machine, blow above the legal limit, or refuse the blood test at the hospital. The general rule in the state of Illinois is that if you refuse to blow into the machine on your first DUI, or refuse to submit to a blood test, then you’re looking at a one year suspension of your driving privileges. If you submit to a chemical test and you’re above the legal limit, then it’s a six months suspension of your driving privileges. Reading the warning to motorists is the first procedural requirement of the officer. Then, the officer has to observe you for a 20-minute period of time to make sure you have nothing in your mouth and that you’re not belching. If you belch, chew something, or put something in your mouth during that 20 minute observation period, then that could affect the integrity of the test.
It is also required that the person who has you blow into the machine is certified by the police department and the department of public health to administer these types of tests. The secretary of state is required to have the proper training and qualifications to operate the machine so that it produces reliable values. The last requirement is that the machine itself is accurately calibrated and certified pursuant to law. This means that it will be tested on a routine basis to ensure accuracy.
The requirements are quite a bit different if you’re taken to the hospital for a blood test. You could also be taken to the hospital for medical reasons associated with an accident or the consumption of alcohol. In that situation, they would call an EMT to take you directly to the hospital. Depending on who’s requesting the blood test (police department or medical personnel), there’s a different set of requirements in terms of whether or not the results would be admissible at trial.
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