Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a very serious issue in Colorado; if you are pulled over and you realize that the officer thinks you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, knowing your rights can be very complicated. There are two issues in a DUI arrest: the criminal charge of driving under the influence, and the DMV involving the status of your Colorado driver’s license. There are three types of test that you may be asked to submit to by a police officer who suspects that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol: A field sobriety test, sometimes known as a “roadside,” a breathalyzer, or a blood test. You have the right to refuse to submit to any of these tests, but of course there are consequences to these choices. If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence, speak with a Boulder DUI attorney.
A field sobriety test is an informal test of your reflexes, equilibrium or mental acuity, based on the observations of the officer. The officer may ask you to follow a pen light or his or her finger with your eyes, while watching your eyes for signs of impairment. The officer may also ask you to walk heel-to-toe, turn, and walk back or some other task, again watching for signs of impairment. Field sobriety tests are entirely optional; you are free to decline to submit to these kinds of tests. If you do submit to a field sobriety test, you are giving the officer an opportunity to collect data that may be used as evidence against you. If you choose to politely decline field sobriety tests, there is no penalty or negative consequence.
Blood-alcohol tests, however, are different. If asked to take a blood-alcohol test, you have the right to decline and you have the right to choose between a breathalyzer and a blood test. A breathalyzer test may be quicker and more convenient, while a blood test is more accurate. If you choose to submit to one of these tests, and don’t get the result that you expected, you may not be able to choose to take the other one instead. You also have the right to decline to submit to a blood-alcohol test. Refusing will revoke your license for one year. And the prosecution will still seek a conviction for driving under the influence. The district attorney will say to a jury why did he or she decline to prove their innocence and choose to lose their license for 12 months if they were innocent. Of course there are defenses to this. We understand someone pulled over for suspicion of DUI is confused about what is in their best interests and has an extremely short period of time to decide how they wish to proceed. Officers are trained but can make mistakes and arrest someone who has a medical condition or someone who has not been driving. Individuals may decline to give a chemical test because they incorrectly believe marijuana smoked in the past will show up that they are currently under the influence of drugs.
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, it is importance that you speak with a Boulder DUI attorney to mitigate the consequences. Steven Louth is a DUI lawyer who handles the administrative consequences of a DUI as well as the criminal charge itself. When it comes to DUI charges, never assume the worst; Mr. Louth has the experience to look after you and help you put these charges behind you. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better your memory of the events will be. Steven can look at all the details of the traffic stop and petition to have the evidence suppressed. You never have to face any criminal charges alone; for more information and a free consultation contact Steven Louth at (303) 442-2297.