If you are pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence in the state of Colorado, a police officer can ask you to preform “voluntary roadside maneuvers” also know as “field sobriety tests. These include a number of tests designed to determine your ability to drive safely. One of these tests is called the “preliminary breath test” or “PBT”. The PBT is a portable breath testing device which is used by law enforcement to determine if there is probable cause to request an official chemical test of your blood or breath. Like the other roadside tests, it is completely voluntary and as a general rule it is a very good idea for you to decline that test (as well as the other roadside tests).
If the officer decides that he does have probable cause to require you to take a chemical test of your blood or breath, you will be advised of Colorado law concerning “express consent”. Express consent means that by operating a motor vehicle in Colorado, you have consented to take a chemical test of your blood or breath when asked to do so by an officer who claims to have probable cause. In spite of the fact that Colorado requires you to take a test, you have the right to refuse that test and for many years that refusal could result in you losing your privilege to operate a motor vehicle for 1 year with absolutely no driving privileges for that entire year. Recently, Colorado law changed and currently a person who refuses chemical testing may get their license back after 60 days with an “ignition interlock” device. This is a device which is installed in your car which requires you to blow into it to confirm that you are not drinking and driving. If you lose your license because you refused testing, you will required to keep the ignition interlock for 2 years with no chance of early termination. If you take a test and you are over .15 you also are required to have the interlock for a minimum of 2 years. If you take a test and you are below .15 you only are required to have the interlock for 9 months and if you don’t blow any alcohol into it you would be eligible for early termination after as little as 4 months.
It is difficult to say whether you should take a test or not. There is no way to know what the results will be beforehand and the results help to determine what you should do (it’s like a dog chasing his tail). Without any question you should always (politely) decline to take the roadsides which include the PBT. If your license is of paramount importance, you should probably take a blood test. On the other hand if your results come back over .2 there is a mandatory jail sentence which is imposed by the court. Feel free to call us for additional information about the specifics of your case.