Traffic stops can be scary. When a police officer asks us to do something, most of us are inclined to do it automatically. However, there are times when granting a request can have serious negative consequences.
Saying “no” to a police officer can be intimidating. However, knowing what your rights are can help you navigate this process.
If you are driving on public roads, you are required to provide proof of your license and car registration. However, you don’t need to answer the questions that police officers typically ask when stopping you.
While it may be natural to carry out a conversation, there is no law that compels you to answer auxiliary questions during a routine traffic stop.
Field Sobriety Tests
During a stop, an officer may ask you to submit to a variety of field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to help police officers determine who may be driving over the limit. These tests include:
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus
- The one-leg stand
- The walk-and-turn
In Colorado, these tests are voluntary. Which means, you have the right to refuse these tests when asked by an officer.
Chemical and blood sobriety tests
Chemical and blood tests, including breathalyzer tests, however, are a different matter. While you can refuse a preliminary breathalyzer test, you are required to submit to testing if you are arrested for a DUI.
Because Colorado is an “express consent” state, drivers consent to take blood and chemical tests when they get their license. Therefore, refusing a blood or breathalyzer test after an arrest will result in a license suspension.
However, police officers still need to follow strict protocol when making an arrest and administering these tests. For legal advice on how to handle a specific situation, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney in your state.