Most of our Denver readers are aware of constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and so on. But even in a nation with such a long and proud tradition of upholding the rights of the individual, it is sometimes difficult to know if we have the right to refuse to take a sobriety test.
Here in Colorado, if you have been pulled over by a police officer and asked to take a blood or breath test to see if you might be driving under the influence, you do have the right to refuse. However, there can be harsh penalties in store for those who choose to refuse.
On the very first day of this year, Colorado law changed to brand anyone who refuses a test as a “persistent drunk driver.” Many argue that the label is unfairly attached to someone merely for refusing to take a test; someone who has not been proven to be drunk.
But it is the current law and if you decide to refuse a sobriety test, you should know the consequences of that action. Under the law, if you refuse the test, your driver’s license will be suspended for a year. And if you want your license back within that period, you must agree to install an interlock ignition device in your vehicle.
It’s difficult to prevail in a fight against the year-long suspension for refusing a sobriety test, making it a fight best waged with an attorney experienced in defending clients in court and at DMV hearings.