What Will Happen If I Refuse A Breathalyzer Test In Colorado?

To refuse a breathalyzer test when stopped for suspected DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in Colorado has significant legal consequences that one must carefully consider.

What will happen if I refuse a breathalyzer test?

What will happen if you refuse a breathalyzer test if you’re stopped for suspicion of DUI is a great question, and a good answer involves some legal details that can profoundly affect your future, as we discuss below.

Legal Context Of Refusing A Breathalyzer Test

In Colorado, as in many other states, driving implies a conditional agreement known as “express consent.” Express consent means that by operating a motor vehicle, drivers automatically consent to chemical testing (including breath, blood, or urine tests) if they are suspected of DUI. This law is critical in understanding the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test.

You Can Refuse A Breathalyzer Test Before DUI Arrest

If you’re pulled over for a DUI in Colorado Springs the police will most likely want you to take one or more field sobriety testsHorizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn or the One Leg Stand (OLS) tests to determine if you’re a candidate for a DUI arrest.

If you’re over 21 years old, you can refuse all pre-arrest testing requirements (breathalyzer, field sobriety test, etc.). And, if you take a breathalyzer test after arrest, that might be all the evidence the police need to convict you of DUI.

If you are under 21 years old, if the police officer suspects that you are driving while impaired, you must submit to a breathalyzer test before a DUI arrest.

Just because you refuse testing before a DUI arrest doesn’t mean that you can’t be arrested for a DUI, especially if you are showing other signs of driving while intoxicated such as speeding, driving erratically or even having an open container of an alcoholic drink in your car.

All of these signs of driving while impaired can give the police a reasonable suspicion that you are driving while impaired.

Refuse A Breathalyzer Test After DUI Arrest

Refusing a blood, breath, or urine test after a DUI arrest can really cause you some problems, including;

Automatic License Suspension: If a driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test, they face an automatic suspension of their driving privileges. Under Colorado law, the first refusal results in a one-year suspension of the driver’s license. Subsequent refusals can lead to longer suspensions.

Evidence in Court: The fact that a driver refused to take a breathalyzer test can be used as evidence in court. Prosecutors might argue that the refusal indicates the driver’s awareness of their impairment. This can influence the jury’s perception and potentially affect the outcome of the case.

Ignition Interlock Device: Following a refusal and the consequent license suspension, reinstating driving privileges often requires the installation of an ignition interlock device at the driver’s expense. This device requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before the vehicle can start.

Increased Penalties: Refusal to take a breathalyzer can result in harsher penalties if the driver is eventually found guilty of DUI. These penalties can include longer jail time, higher fines, and extended periods of mandatory ignition interlock use.

Alternative Tests and Rights During a Stop

Upon being stopped for suspected DUI in Colorado, drivers are typically given the choice between a breathalyzer and a blood test to measure their blood alcohol content (BAC). If circumstances prevent the administration of these tests, a urine test might be used.

Colorado drivers need to know that while they have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test, this does not mean they can avoid the test without consequences. Moreover, drivers have the right to request an independent blood test at their own expense, which can serve as a defense if discrepancies arise between the official test administered by law enforcement and the independent test.

Practical Advice – Refusing A Breathalyzer

Given the stringent implications associated with refusal, legal experts often advise against refusing a breathalyzer test if stopped for suspected DUI in Colorado. Cooperation with law enforcement can sometimes lead to more favorable outcomes in court, particularly if it’s a first offense.

Additionally, taking the breathalyzer test does not preclude challenging the results later with the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer.

Never Refuse An Experienced DUI Lawyer If Arrested For DUI

Refusing a breathalyzer test in Colorado carries significant legal consequences that can impact one’s driving privileges, legal standing, and financial situation.

While every individual has the right to refuse testing, this decision should be made with an understanding of the immediate and long-term ramifications.

Whether or not if you refuse a breathalyzer test – or any other test – if pulled over for a suspected DUI in Colorado, you really need the best DUI lawyer in Colorado Springs. We have literally defended thousands of DUI cases and we are ready to go all the way to help keep you out of jail and to protect your driver’s license. Call today for your Free Case Review





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