After you are pulled over by highway patrol officers in Colorado for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), at some point you will probably be told to blow into a handheld breathalyzer device to provide a measurement of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. Should you, though? And what can happen if you don’t?
Can & Should You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
When a police officer tells you to take a breathalyzer test curbside, they might actually be asking for you to take one, which is much different than demanding. Ask the officer if the test is mandatory or required. If they say no, you have the right to refuse it and you probably should. Unless you are entirely certain that you are 100% sober, meaning you have had no drugs or alcohol of any kind within the past 24 hours, you should not take a breathalyzer test.
Even if you blow a 0.06, for example, and are under the legal limit, you can get arrested and charged with a DUI due to an officer’s discretion on how to interpret the test’s findings. If you do not take the test, you do not provide them with that evidence and opportunity to use against you.
What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer?
Roadside breathalyzer tests are considered a field sobriety test (FST). You have the right to refuse to take an FST without any fear of immediate legal consequence; your refusal also cannot be used against you as direct evidence in court should your case go to trial. If you do politely refuse to take an optional breathalyzer test, you are probably going to be detained – not the same as arrested – and taken back to the police station, where things are a little different.
At the station, you might be told to take a breath test there. Make no mistake – this time they are demanding, not asking; if you aren’t sure, ask the officer if it is required. Refusing to take a chemical test using a full-sized breathalyzer machine can hit you with instant penalties, including the automatic suspension of your driver’s license for 1 to 3 years, due to the state’s implied consent law. The automatic suspension is issued by the Colorado DMV, so it can be used as evidence of guilt and cannot be challenged in court.
Who Can Defend Your Driving Privilege?
Due to the DMV’s involvement with automatic license suspensions, no DUI attorney in the country can stop it. However, if you are arrested for a DUI, your rights, finances, and reputation can all be defended by The Law Offices of Rachel A. Michael. Contact our Fort Collins DUI lawyer today for detailed information about our legal services.