February 20, 2016

Impacts of submitting to vs refusing chemical tests in DUI stops

Impacts of submitting to vs refusing chemical tests in DUI stops

By law, all motorists in Colorado are required to submit to a chemical test – either a breath or blood test – during a DUI stop if a police officer has probable cause to suspect impairment. Of course, however, motorists can refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test during a DUI stop, and these refusals can come with some consequences.

Understanding these consequences, as well as the nature of chemical testing in DUI stops, can help you decide whether submitting to a breath or blood test is in your best interests if you are ever pulled over for suspicion of impaired driving.

If You Do Submit to a Chemical Test in a DUI Stop…

It’s important for you to understand that:

  • For breath tests, officers are required to wait at least 20 minutes after pulling you over before administering these tests (during this period, officers are supposed to observe motorists, making sure they don’t consume anything or belch/regurgitate). Additionally, the breathalyzer used must be an approved device that has been calibrated properly.
    • Takeaway: Various factors can make breathalyzer test results questionable, if not unreliable. So, don’t assume that taking a breath test will provide definitive results or evidence against you.
  • For blood tests, a certified blood draw technician will have to take the samples, and these samples must be transported/stored according to some very specific rules (i.e., the chain of custody) in order to prevent contamination. Additionally, the labs analyzing these samples should follow some specific procedures/methods to ensure the accuracy of their results.
    • Takeaway: Again, various factors can compromise the reliability and accuracy of blood test results. An experienced lawyer will know what to look for and the best ways of challenging these results.

If You Refuse Chemical Testing in a DUI Stop…

You will be subject to an automatic driver’s license suspension, which can last anywhere from 1 to 3 years (depending on whether you have prior refusals and/or DUI convictions on your record). With refusals, here’s what else is critical to understand:

  • Your refusal can be used as evidence against you – In other words, prosecutors have the option of using your refusal to argue that you knew you were impaired and, as a result, refused to submit to chemical testing.
  • Refusals can be helpful in some defense cases – Although refusing chemical tests can come with various consequences, it can be beneficial in some specific situations, such as when the driver may have a really high BAC (like 0.15 or higher). In these cases, refusals may prevent harsher penalties (for excessive BACs) from coming into play.

Contact a Broomfield DUI Lawyer at The Datz Law Firm

Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI in Colorado? If so, a Broomfield DUI lawyer at The Datz Law Firm is ready to provide you with superior defense representation.

To discuss your best DUI defense options during an initial consultation with one of our lawyers, call us at (720) 256-2404, or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

Although our office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., we make ourselves available anytime of the day or night to talk about your important legal matters – or simply to discuss your worries and concerns. The bottom line is that we are flexible, available, and responsive.

Categories: DUI, DUI Laws