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Understanding the Implications and Legal Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

Drug Crimes

Drunk driving is a serious offense in Colorado as it risks the safety of the driver, passengers, and other road users. Those found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol can face serious consequences, including prison time and hefty fines.

If you are accused of drunk driving or refusing a breathalyzer test, you have the right to defend against those charges. One of the key components of any drunk driving case is the results of the breathalyzer test. However, what happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test? Let’s explore the implications and legal consequences.

Role And Purpose Of A Breathalyzer Test In DUI Cases

Police officers are legally allowed to pull over a driver they suspect is driving under the influence. Driving behaviors such as swerving, not stopping at a red light or stop sign, or speeding are common indicators that a driver can be drunk. The police need probable cause to pull over a driver. However, the only way a police officer can be certain is if they perform an objective measurement of intoxication.

The breathalyzer test is one of the most commonly used methods to measure the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level in the bloodstream. It is a roadside breath test to determine if a driver is drunk. The higher the reading, the more alcohol content is in the blood. According to the DUI laws in Colorado, the legal limit is 0.08%. The state also has a zero-tolerance policy for underage DUI. This means any driver under 21 could be charged with DUI for any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

What Happens If I Refuse A Breathalyzer Test?

Colorado has implied consent laws for DUI. When you obtain your driver’s license you consent to chemical tests, such as a breathalyzer test, if arrested for DUI. Refusing the breath test can result in automatic administrative penalties, such as driver’s license suspension, or other penalties enforced by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The driver’s license suspension period can be one to three years; however, several factors are considered to determine the refusal of breathalyzer penalties, including a prior history of DUI convictions.

You have the right to request an express consent revocation hearing with the DMV to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. You must submit your request for the hearing within seven days of the refusal.

The state of Colorado considers driving a privilege, and not a right. So the state has the legal authority to suspend driving privileges if you refuse a breathalyzer test. There could be other consequences along with administrative penalties.

Based on the state and local jurisdiction, you could be arrested and taken to the police station for refusing a breath test.

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test, the prosecution cannot use BAC evidence against you. However, they can still use your refusal to take a breathalyzer test as evidence of consciousness of guilt. This means that they can build their case on the fact that you refused the test because you knew you were driving drunk.

Another potential impact of refusing the test is that it might indicate to the prosecution that you lack acceptance of reasonability and are not willing to cooperate. This can impact the plea bargaining with the prosecution.

It is worth noting that the above-mentioned are the direct consequences of refusing the breathalyzer test. However, the refusal can also impact the overall outcome of your DUI case, which can have more serious consequences, including criminal penalties such as imprisonment. DUI-related charges can also give you a criminal record and impact your future employment and housing prospects.

Valid Defenses And Strategies For Refusal To Take a Breathalyzer Test

We have already established that refusing a breathalyzer test can have serious consequences. However, there are several valid defenses and strategies for individuals who refuse a breath test.

A common defense against such charges is challenging probable cause. If you can prove that the police did not have sufficient reasonable suspicion to pull you over, then you can justify why you refused the breathalyzer test. It can also strengthen your overall DUI defense.

Another strategy that may work is to prove you refused the test due to medical reasons. If you have a documented medical condition, such as a respiratory or gastrointestinal condition, that you believed would have interfered with the breathalyzer results or caused your condition to get worse, then those could be valid reasons for the refusal.

In some cases, defendants can highlight the unreliability of the breathalyzer test as a valid reason for refusing the test. The breathalyzer can provide unreliable results if the equipment is faulty or the BAC test is not administered properly.

Although the breathalyzer test is a key component of a DUI case, there are several other types of evidence and defenses that can be explored. This includes field sobriety tests, witness testimony, arresting officer testimony, and more. A blood or urine test can also be used to determine BAC levels in the blood and can serve as an alternative to a breath test. Urine tests and blood tests typically offer better reliability compared to a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test.

There can be other valid reasons for refusing the test. You should consult an attorney who will assess your case to guide you on the best legal defenses based on the specifics of your case.

How The Law Office Of Richard B. Huttner Can Assist In Challenging Breathalyzer Test Refusal Cases

Have you been charged with refusing a breathalyzer test in Colorado? These charges can lead to some severe penalties but you have legal options to fight against the charges.

At the Law Office Of Richard B. Huttner, we have the experience, skills, and resources to help build a strong defense against such charges and help you avoid breathalyzer refusal consequences. Allow us to guide you through the complexities of breathalyzer test refusals. With our experience in DUI cases, we can guide you on each step of the process. After assessing your case, you can craft a strategic defense based on the specifics of your case.

Contact us at the Law Office Of Richard B. Huttner to schedule a consultation. We encourage you to involve our DUI lawyer as early as possible so we can have the maximum impact on your case.

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