Let’s face it, Colorado’s drunk driving laws can be extremely confusing, especially when you consider all of the possible offenses, including driving while ability impaired (DWAI), driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), just to name a few. And, now that the recreational use of marijuana is no longer against the law, it is even more complicated.
Since most people don’t have the time to pour over the various complex statutes that govern impaired driving offenses in Colorado, we have put together a list that describes the DUI and DUID process in eight simple steps:
- Getting pulled over: If you see the flashing lights of a police car behind you, pull over in a safe spot as soon as you can.
- Questioning: Once pulled over, the officer will likely ask what you have been up to and whether you have been drinking. Keep in mind, you have the right to remain silent and therefore do not have to answer these questions.
- Roadside sobriety tests: If the officer thinks you have been drinking, he or she will probably ask you to exit your vehicle and perform roadside sobriety tests. However, these tests are voluntary — meaning you should refuse to participate.
- Preliminary breath test: The officer may also ask you submit to a preliminary breath test (PBT) on the side of the road. Like the roadside sobriety tests, these are voluntary, so you can refuse.
- Chemical testing: If the officer believes there is probable cause to arrest you for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she will ask you to submit to chemical testing of your blood or breath. It is important to remember that this testing is not optional, which means your will face a penalty if you refuse. A refusal can also be used against you in court.
- License revocation: Whether you refuse chemical testing or take the test and fail, the DMV will revoke your license, although the duration of this revocation is different depending on the circumstances.
- DMV hearing: You only have a few days following a DMV license revocation to request a hearing to challenge the loss of your license — so you need to act fast.
- Strategy development: Once you are released from custody, you need to coordinate with your attorney as soon as possible and review your legal options. For instance, you should discuss whether you should fight the charges in court or if a plea agreement may be a better route.
If you would like to learn more about these eight steps, we encourage you to visit our site and read our white paper titled “Colorado Dui And DUID Law: What You Need To Know When Charged.” In it, we explain these steps as well as a wide range of other DUI- and DUID-related information.