Being pulled over by a police officer for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) can be an alarming experience. However, being armed with knowledge in advance can be helpful in ensuring your rights are protected.
There are multiple misconceptions surrounding DUI’s in Colorado. For instance:
- What is the legal limit?
- Should you voluntarily submit to roadside sobriety tests?
- Should you volunteer to take a breathalyzer or blood test?
- What are your options?
In Colorado, the legal limit for alcohol is split. While most people believe the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08, it is actually .05. In Colorado, you can be arrested and charged with Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) if your BAC is .05 or higher up to .08 at which point you will be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). While a DWAI is not as severe of an offense as a DUI it still carries a significant penalty inclusive of probation, community service, alcohol education classes, and a fine.
If you are pulled over under suspicion of DUI sometimes an officer will ask you to step out of the car to perform a standardized field sobriety test. Many people are familiar with these. Generally, they test your ability to maintain balance and follow directions. While in the situation it may not seem as if these tests are voluntary, they are exactly that. Your performance on a field sobriety test can and likely will be used against you even if you are completely sober at the time you take them. If asked to take a voluntary field sobriety test you should politely refuse and ask for a chemical test instead such as a blood, breath, or urine test.
In the state of Colorado, by merely driving on public roads, you give your expressed consent to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your BAC. If you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, you must submit to a chemical test within two hours of when you last drove. Refusing to submit to a chemical test does not negate nor eliminate your chance of being charged with DUI or DWAI, instead, it automatically revokes your driver’s license regardless of whether or not you are guilty of the offense and will be used against you by the prosecution.
If you have been arrested for DUI or DWAI one of your first steps should be contacting an attorney. DUI penalties in Colorado tend to be particularly harsh, especially if you’ve been charged with a DUI previously. Our experienced and passionate DUI attorneys are familiar with local and state laws and are ready to tackle your case. Contact us today for assistance and guidance.