Can the Police Take Blood During a DUI Arrest?

Updated on 06/15/2022 / Under

DUIs are taken very seriously in the state of Illinois. While most other states have harsh punishments for people driving while intoxicated, few other states besides Illinois have a strict, zero-tolerance policy towards it.

Illinois introduced strict laws against driving under influence decades ago, and to this date hold true to them. People caught with a 0.08% alcohol or drug content in their blood are arrested and charged accordingly with heavy fines, community service, court supervision, license suspension, and even imprisonment.

Unlike other states, Illinois has no ‘lookback period,’ meaning that if you get a DUI once, it will forever remain on your record, and any further criminal offenses will result in graver punishments. After the third offense, your driver’s license will be suspended for life, and your driving privileges will be revoked.

Blood During a DUI Arrest

Such are the laws in Illinois concerning individuals driving under the influence that the first DUI is enough to knock sense into them, and never attempt to drive while intoxicated again. Since the introduction of these laws, the frequency of accidents, injuries, and deaths caused by DUIs has significantly gone down in Illinois.

If you have been wrongly suspected and forced to give blood without your consent without probable cause, you might have a case. You can contact our Chicago criminal defense attorneys to help you fight your criminal penalties and clear your name, as well as hold the police officers accountable for acting without authority.

Chemical Testing for DUIs

If a police officer pulls over a person suspecting it to be a DUI case, it is normal to request the individual to submit to chemical testing to ensure that they are indeed alcohol-free.

Chemical tests are of multiple types, but the most common one that is conducted in the blood test to indicate the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of the driver. Blood tests are extremely accurate and reliable, and can always be revisited if there is any doubt. If the BAC is found to be over 0.08%, it would be sufficient grounds for an arrest.

What types of testing Can Police Ask For?

In most states, police officers can demand that the driver take a test to ascertain their blood alcohol levels. This is a right they can exercise if they have plausible cause to believe that the driver might be driving under the influence.
Testing for the BAC can be done in three ways:

  • By asking the driver to take a breath sample
  • By requesting the driver to let the police run a blood test
  • By asking or a urine sample to test for controlled substances

The most common and quickest method that law enforcement normally employs is the use of a testing device called the Breathalyzer. The police do not need the warrant to ask the driver to breathe into a device, and the Supreme Court has unanimously agreed that the breath test breaks no rules and violates no amendments of the constitution.

Related: Penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test

However, asking someone to breathe into a device and pricking someone with a needle are two separate stories. In most states, the police need to have a warrant to get a blood test done from a driver that is suspected to be driving while intoxicated. The most the police can do without a warrant is ask for consent to draw blood, and if the driver does not agree to, the police can do nothing unless a warrant is issued.

The police are not allowed to forcibly draw blood, and the Supreme Court also backs this up, stating that being allowed to take blood without consent is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment of the American Constitution.

There are exceptions to the rule, however. A driver who is passed out on the road involved in a car accident is not in any condition to give consent. In such cases, the police are allowed to take a sample of the driver’s blood to run tests at the laboratory, to administer out suitable punishment if found guilty and liable for the accident.

However, this is not the case in Illinois. The state law does not give such luxuries to drunk or intoxicated drivers on its land. The state has ruled that its police officers do not require a warrant to take blood from a drunk driver, if they show clear signs of intoxication, and there is reason to believe that the driver might be inebriated. It is not illegal for the law enforcement officer to take a suspected driver’s blood even if clear consent is not provided (though there are some legal boundaries to this rule).

Implied Consent refers to a legal term that assumes permission for something that is inferred by a person’s action rather than explicitly provided. Most drivers who are pulled over generally do submit to whatever testing that is required. They know that refusing a blood test may come across as admission of guilt to a court’s jury and the police officers, resulting in further penalties for not willingly submitting to a DUI testing procedure.

Even though it is not a crime to refuse a blood test, if the police chief later gets a warrant and it is found that you were indeed guilty, the punishment could be worse. For these reasons, most people agree to get their breath checked, or their blood drawn when asked to.

Can You Refuse to Submit to Chemical Testing In Illinois?

In line with the strict laws and rules surrounding DUIs, Illinois refuses to acknowledge that consent is required for drawing blood from a driver suspected of a DUI. In Illinois, the police officers do NOT need your consent to collect a blood sample from the driver and push it forward for testing.

Refusing a blood test would not only be an offense under Illinois’s law but also futile as the police officers are given the liberty to draw the blood by force by restraining the driver if need be.

Forcible Blood Drawing

Forcible blood drawing is prohibited in most states for DUI cases but not in Illinois. If consent is not granted, law officers have the right to hold down the suspected offender and take blood samples.

Section 11-501.2 of the Vehicle Code makes it permissible for police officers to act in DUIs if there is plausible evidence to suggest that the driver is likely drunk or high. However, this does not give the police the right to exercise this right without bounds. If there is insufficient cause for suspicion, the police are not authorized for a forcible blood draw.

The police must have grounds to believe that the driver is guilty of the following to authorize a forcible blood test.

  • Causing an injury or death to others in a road accident
  • The suspect was in actual control of the vehicle
  • The physical injury was classified as Type A
  • The suspect was under the influence

Under any other condition, forcibly drawing blood will be considered a violation of your constitutional rights in Illinois too.

Related: How to beat a DUI?

Get the Help of a Local DUI Lawyer

If you have had your blood drawn forcibly, and it came back positive with more than 0.08% of blood alcohol concentration, you will have to face criminal charges for driving under the influence. You can challenge the forced blood draw against the fourth amendment to alleviate some burden of the blame.

Our Cook County DUI attorneys routinely handle cases involving DUIs and know their ways about it. They have years of experience and knowledge, which they will use to somehow mitigate the damage a DUI conviction can possibly do.

If you have had your blood forcibly taken in a DUI criminal case, don't waste any time and contact us immediately for an initial consultation and get sound counsel on how to proceed with the case.