Many Colorado drivers don’t realize that when they initially accepted their driver’s license, they consented to a chemical test during a DUI traffic stop. If the driver attempts to refuse to participate in this test, he or she could face serious penalties.
If an officer has probable cause to believe you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you might be asked to take a breath, blood, saliva or urine test. Unfortunately, no matter the situation you currently find yourself in, you’ve already given your consent to comply with the officer’s request. If you refuse to consent during the traffic stop, you could face a one-year license suspension in addition to any other criminal consequences for the DUI.
There might be some confusion
Unfortunately, while the express consent law seems straightforward and succinct, there are numerous elements that are confusing. There is often debate surrounding the concept of probable cause. As stated earlier, if the officer has probable cause that you are operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer can ask you to submit to a chemical test. However, the reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity is often subjective – lacking a clear definition. It is not uncommon for a traffic stop to follow various paths depending on an officer’s mood or incorrect perception of events.
Additionally, confusion or errors in communication might lead to an escalated event. For example, a driver might have only been refusing to submit to a blood test – but was willing to comply with a breath, urine or saliva test. Can this be considered refusal in general? What if the motorist had initially agreed to a blood test, and then changed his or her mind? Can the officer then claim that the driver was refusing the chemical test? The point is that various factors are nebulous and up for debate.
There are numerous elements that might influence how a court case goes. It is important to have a skilled defender on your side shielding you from serious penalties.