Driving while drunk, or while under the influence of drugs is a serious offense. It can lead to a significant penalty, community service time or a jail term. The Colorado DUI laws are strict, and it deters drunken drivers from putting their lives and the lives of others at danger. The best way to avoid DUI or DWI charges is by not driving after consuming alcohol.
However, it is not always possible to find a designated driver or a ride-sharing service after a party. Most drivers like to unwind during the weekends or after a long day in the office. Therefore, it is only smart to drink responsibly to keep the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) within limits.
In many cases, good citizens face DUI or DWAI charges without any fault of their own. Patrolling officers may make mistakes while pulling a car over and the field tests do not prove intoxication confirmedly. Therefore, it is essential for every good Samaritan to know their rights and ways to protect them.
According to DUI Denver German Defense, here are the ten steps you should follow in case a patrolling officer pulls you over –
- If you see lights in your rear view mirror, look for a safe place, beside the road, to pull over. Try to pull over as soon as possible. Don’t give the impression of running.
- Keep your license, registration and insurance papers ready for the officer to review. Never leave the necessary documents at home. Copies of the same do not suffice during these situations.
- The officer will begin asking questions about your status and whereabouts. He or she might ask you where you are coming from and where you are going. The officer might even ask you if you had anything to drink that evening/night. However, you have the right to remain silent as anything you say might constitute the evidence against you. Speak as less as possible.
- The police officer might ask you to step out of your vehicle for a field sobriety test. You should step out, but you should also know that you have the complete right to refuse it. All field sobriety tests are voluntary, and your refusal should not attract penalties or punishment.
- Next, the officer might ask you to participate in a preliminary breath test (PBT). It is a voluntary test as well, and you reserve the right to refuse the PBT. In case you comply, the state can use the results of the PBT against you during the trial. Furthermore, the accuracy of PBT to determine the BAC is still controversial.
- The officer can arrest you and ask you to submit to a chemical test (blood or urine). Typically, a medical professional should administer this test. It is well within the rights of a citizen to refuse the BAC, but always remember that upon refusal, the state will revoke the license for one year. A second and third-time refusal to submit for a BAC can result in the revocation of the driving license for two-years and three-years respectively. The state can use the denial against your case. However, upon compliance, the state will use the result of the BAC test above the legal limit against the driver.
- When you refuse to take the BAC, the state will revoke your license for a predetermined period. However, at the same time, the state cannot perform the BAC without your consent or use the results against you during the trial. Sometimes, refusal is one way to avoid a more severe sentence that comes with DUI convictions.
- Before taking the BAC or refusing one, or during the arrest, you don’t have the right to contact an attorney. Choosing to comply or resist is entirely your discretion.
- The police officer can take you to jail, detox or release you as a sober person. It is entirely the police officer’s decision once you refuse the field tests, PBT and BAC test.
- Once you refuse all three tests, there is a high chance that the police officer might arrest you. In that case, you should always contact a reputed and experienced DUI attorney in your locality within 24-hours of your arrest and release.
After your arrest, choosing the right attorney can make all the difference in terms of cost, penalties, and punishment. Choosing a reputed legal firm might seem like a considerable expense, but it is a long-term investment that can prevent a permanent criminal record.
The DUI laws in Colorado are not only complex, but they are also strict. It is close to impossible to expunge the charges through self-representation. It is in the interest of the driver to hire professional representation before his or her DMV hearing and a court hearing for the best results.