If you are ever stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the State of Colorado, you will be asked by law enforcement to take a chemical test. The right of law enforcement to ask you to take this type of test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is provided by Colorado’s express consent law. There are three types of tests that a law enforcement officer can administer including blood, breath, and urine.
Express consent means that you have affirmatively given consent or permission to an action or behavior, either verbally or in writing. If you have a Colorado state driver’s license, you have already given express consent that you will submit to any type of blood, breath, or urine test for either drug or alcohol use, if a law enforcement officer finds probable cause that you were either driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI).
Express consent does not apply to any roadside sobriety tests (walk and turn or stand on one leg) that may be performed by a law enforcement officer. These tests are not chemical tests (which you do not have the right to refuse) and are administered by police officers to determine if someone may be over the legal limit and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You do not have to submit to these roadside tests under the law.
Many drivers suspected of driving under the influence may be asked to take a preliminary breath test, which is different than a Breathalyzer test. A Colorado driver is not required by law to take a preliminary breath test after being stopped by a police officer, and any refusal to do so will not be held against the driver in a court of law. However, if the police officer arrests the driver and takes them to the police station, the driver will have to submit to a Breathalyzer test.
Drivers in the State of Colorado have two hours after being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to comply with a chemical test requested by law enforcement. If a driver refuses to comply with this request, there is an automatic penalty of a 12-month driver’s license suspension and the requirement to have an interlock ignition device for two years following the reinstatement of their driver’s license. The driver will also be required to participate in an alcohol education program and perhaps even obtain a specific type of insurance called SR-22, which is an insurance policy for high-risk drivers.
If the driver does take the chemical test (either breath, blood or urine) and the results are 0.08 or higher, the driver is likely to be convicted and issued a sentence that may include fines, treatment, and revocation of a driver’s license for a period of time.
Requesting a Hearing
If a driver refuses a chemical test or consented to a test and the results were above the legal limit, the driver may request a hearing within seven days of the Express Consent Affidavit and Notice of Revocation or the letter received from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Contact an Experienced DUI/DWAI Attorney
You have the right to be represented by an attorney in your DUI proceedings. Having an experienced DUI attorney on your side can make the difference between a conviction and the dismissal of your charges. Your lawyer will look at any evidence that may have been obtained in violation of your rights and work to exclude this evidence from the prosecution’s case against you.