What if you’re pulled over and the police suspect you have been driving under the influence (DUI). If you get pulled over, the police officer will ask for your license, proof of insurance and registration. The officer may then begin to ask you questions like how many drinks have you had tonight? The second that officer starts with the questions you know it is on.
You have options about how this will work out and the choices you make in the next few minutes will determine your immediate future.
You have a Constitutional Right under the 5th Amendment to remain silent. This is a protection against incriminating yourself. If asked about the number of drinks you had, you do not have to answer. If you are worried that your speech may sound slurred, the officer can and will use that against you in court. It may be in your best interest to state that you wish to not answer their questions.
The police are trained to gather as much evidence against you during their questioning. The police are making sensory notes regarding the odor of alcohol, the sound of slurred speech, unsteady hand movement, seeing bloodshot and watery eyes.The more evidence against you, the harder the case is to beat. Since you have a right to not answer questions which is guaranteed by the Constitution, your silence will not be held against you in court.
DUI FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS
The police are trained to gather more evidence against you in the form of tests designed to determine your level of balance and coordination. The officer will tell you these tests are voluntary but give you little time to say you don’t want to do the field sobriety tests. The fact is you do not have to do this subjective testing. Even if you are sober, some of these test results can be used against you. It is in your interest to decline the field sobriety testing as it will most certainly be construed against you.
BREATHALYZER AND BLOOD TESTS
Because you have a driver’s license, you are required to submit to Breathalyzers and other chemical testing. Other Chemical Tests can be requested like a Blood or Urine Tests. Blood tests are much more accurate than breathalyzer tests. A common way to gather evidence against you is for the officer to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test.
This is a big choice to make.
You either blow and hope for the best or refuse the test. The breathalyzer’s results have not always been accurate. The reliability of reading an accurate level of intoxication is also suspect. No matter if the breathalyzer is accurate or not, numbers don’t lie.
If you blow over the legal limit, your case becomes harder but not impossible to beat. There is that much more evidence that must be addressed.
If you refuse a chemical test, then there is a good chance you will have your license suspended for 1 year in most states, Colorado included. You might think that there is an upside to not submitting to testing thinking that you will most likely avoid the more severe penalties of being convicted of a DUI. You should understand that you can refuse the roadside sobriety tests and the blood/breath tests but refusing the blood/breath tests makes you lose your license for a year and at trial a jury is told about the requirement to take the test and refusing can be used as consciousness of guilt. You could submit to a blood test, which gives you a chance to keep your license longer.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE DUI ATTORNEY
If you end up getting charged with a DUI, it is very important to get in touch with a DUI Attorney. It is also helpful to understand Colorado DUI Law and DUI Penalties, click here to the Colorado Criminal Law PDF Factsheet page to learn more.
Obtaining the experience of a well established Criminal Defense Attorney specializing in DUI cases is important because sometimes your lawyer can get evidence suppressed. Defense lawyers are versed in tactics employed by the police and state attorneys and how to defend against those tactics. Denver DUI Attorney Richard B. Huttner is a founding member of the National College of DUI Defense and is an expert in DUI cases. Contact him for a free consultation and for representation on your DUI defense case.