If you are ever arrested for drunk driving in Colorado, the police will likely ask you to submit to some type of chemical testing to determine if there is alcohol or drugs in your system. In most cases, this will involve either a breath test or a blood test.
Many people think it will help their case to refuse this testing. After all, if the police don’t have toxicology evidence to use against you, they can’t convict you of driving under the influence (DUI), right? Well, it doesn’t really work like that.
In fact, even if you refuse testing — thereby eliminating the toxicology evidence — you can still be convicted of DUI based on other evidence observed by the police officer, including whether you were slurring your speech or stumbling while you walked.
Indeed, a recent report issued by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice found that prosecutors are nearly as likely to obtain a DUI conviction even when they don’t have a toxicology report to use as evidence. Specifically, this report, which reviewed 27,244 DUI case filings from 2016, discovered the following:
- The DUI conviction rate WITH a toxicology test: 89.4 percent
- The DUI conviction rate WITHOUT a toxicology test: 85.7 percent
So even though a DUI conviction is slightly more likely with a toxicology test, it isn’t by much.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that if you refuse testing, you will lose your license regardless of whether you are eventually convicted, not to mention your refusal can be used against you. Conversely, if you agree to testing and you register a significantly high BAC level, you may face even harsher penalties.
Ultimately, deciding whether or not to submit to testing is a difficult choice to make — even if it doesn’t seem to impact conviction rates, as the recent report claims.