Urine Tests in Illinois DUI Cases

Were you arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Illinois? Were you asked to give a urine sample? Here, our Illinois DUI lawyers will discuss urine tests and how we could protect your rights if you’ve been charged with DUI.

Many people might not realize that a roadside breathalyzer test might not be enough to secure a conviction for drunk driving. Roadside breath tests are notoriously unreliable, and police usually need a second, more accurate test before you can be charged, especially if you were not driving erratically before being pulled over. But these second tests also need to be conducted responsibly, since they could yield false positive results if not administered correctly.

police vehicleAmong the chemical tests police use in DUI cases, urine tests are the most likely to return a false positive result. If you have been accused of drunk driving and were ordered to undergo a urine test, you may be able to challenge the test results and possibly have the case against you dismissed.

The Chicago DUI defense lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have protected the rights of criminal defendants for more than 30 years. We have successfully represented more than 20,000 clients, including many accused of drunk driving. A drunk driving conviction could lead to jail, fines, and losing your driving privileges. Our job is to help you avoid the worst possible outcomes in your case, and we know how to assist DUI defendants as they navigate the justice system. If you have been accused of drunk driving in Illinois, you can get a free consultation with one of our lawyers today by calling (800) 996-4824 or visiting our contact page.

Illinois DUI Laws

There are two ways a driver can be charged with drunk driving under Illinois law. The first is if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher. This is known as “DUI per se,” as the law assumes that anyone intoxicated cannot safely operate a vehicle. It’s also important to note that the legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 percent.

However, you do not have to register a 0.08 on a breathalyzer to be charged with DUI. According to state law, a driver could be arrested for drunk driving for being under the influence of alcohol if they are “incapable of driving safely.” For example, if you are speeding, weaving through traffic, failing to yield the right of way, or signal a turn and after being pulled over exhibit signs of impairment during Field Sobriety Tests, your actions would likely be considered probable cause for arrest even though your BAC might be below the legal limit.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Illinois

The penalties for a DUI in Illinois depend on whether you have any prior offenses, how long it has been since a previous violation, whether you injured anyone in an accident, and other factors. Generally speaking, the penalties for DUI break down like this:

  • First offense – Misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, one-year driver’s license suspension (two-year suspension for drivers under 21 years old)
  • Second offense within five years – Misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, five-year driver’s license suspension
  • Third offense within five years – Class 2 felony, up to seven years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, 10-year driver’s license suspension
  • Fourth offense within five years – Class 2 felony, up to seven years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, 
  • Fifth offense within five years – Class 1 felony, up to 15 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, indefinite driver’s license suspension
  • Fifth offense within five years – Class X felony, up to 30 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, indefinite driver’s license suspension

The Problems with Urine Tests in DUI Cases

Because roadside breathalyzer tests and field tests (counting backward, walking heel-to-toe, etc.) are not considered reliable in DUI cases, police need more accurate methods to measure the amount of alcohol in someone’s system. There are three chemical tests police use in DUI cases: Blood tests, urine tests, and breath tests with more accurate, stationary equipment.

judgeOf these three methods, blood tests are the most accurate but are considered to be invasive. This is why police officers may ask you to submit a urine test. However, there are several known issues with urine tests in DUI cases, such as:

  • Urine tests make it difficult to calculate BAC – Because different people’s bodies process alcohol at different rates based on weight, gender, alcohol tolerance, and other factors, two people who have had the same amount to drink may register different BAC levels in a urine test.
  • Issues obtaining and preserving a sample – There are specific rules police must use when obtaining a urine sample, and if these rules are not followed, the test may not produce an accurate result. And once a sample is obtained, it must be refrigerated and properly preserved to get a precise result. Urine samples are sometimes contaminated due to human error, which can influence test results.
  • Issues with multiple samples – Urine tests generally require you to give two samples so one can be used as a control while the other is tested. However, many people have trouble providing two urine samples in a short period, making it challenging to get an accurate test result.

Can You Refuse a Urine Test?

According to state law, anyone with an Illinois driver’s license is presumed to have given “implied consent” to chemical DUI tests. While you technically have the right to refuse a test, doing so will most likely lead to an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a year or more.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Challenge a Urine Test

Urine tests are often touted as a dependable method of determining if someone was driving while impaired, but an experienced DUI defense lawyer might be able to challenge the results of the test based on several different factors. A DUI defense attorney can look closely at the sample, how the test was conducted, and other factors to ensure the test was correctly administered and produced an accurate result. If there are questions about the test, you might be able to have the results thrown out, which could lead to the charges against you being reduced or dropped.

If you have been accused of drunk driving in Illinois and are concerned about the results of a urine test, our Chicago criminal defense lawyers are ready to help. We have helped many people get the results they desire. Contact Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today by calling (800) 996-4824 or filling out our online form for a free consultation.

Written by Mitchell S. Sexner Last Updated : August 11, 2022