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What happens when a breathalyzer is refused?

If a driver refuses a breathalyzer test, his or her license could be suspended and he or she may have to work hard to get the license reinstated.

Even though Colorado drivers are aware of the risks associated with driving while under the influence, impaired driving still happens on a fairly regular basis. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, thousands of people are arrested each year for drinking and driving. The department estimates the annual total of people arrested for this crime is over 26,000.

In the state, the legal blood alcohol limit for a driving while ability impaired citation is 0.05 and for a driving under the influence citation is 0.08. If a police officer requests a breathalyzer test is taken, some drivers may choose to refuse the test because they do not think they should have to do it or because they are afraid their blood alcohol level will be extremely high.

License is suspended

Colorado is an express consent state, which means all drivers agree to provide a chemical sample for testing should they get pulled over under suspicion of driving while drunk. Chemical testing can include a blood or breath sample. If someone should choose not to comply with this request, there could be consequences regardless of the intoxication level of the driver.

One of the most common consequences a driver may face is getting his or her license suspended. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, a first-time offender who refuses to take a breathalyzer could have his or her license revoked for one year. A third offense could result in a 36-month suspension. While this restraint is in place, the driver is not supposed to operate a motor vehicle.

Reinstatement is tenuous

When reinstatement does take place, drivers may not have the same level of freedom as they did before getting pulled over under suspicion of impaired driving. For example, someone hoping to get their license back after refusing a breathalyzer may be expected to take an alcohol education class prior to starting to drive again.

Often, drivers who refused to provide a chemical sample have to use an interlock ignition device for two years. This ignition system is designed to ensure a person does not drive after drinking alcohol. A few people may even be asked to get a special insurance policy rider that guarantees insurance is effective for a set period of time. This license reinstatement is similar for someone who partook in the breathalyzer and was charged with a DUI.

When a Colorado resident is pulled over under suspicion of driving while drunk, he or she may choose to refuse the breathalyzer for a variety of reasons. Whether the chemical sample was given or not, it may be beneficial to work with a knowledgeable attorney after being accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.