Motorists in Colorado can refuse to submit to blood alcohol content (BAC) tests during DUI stops. If they do, however, they will be subject to some automatic penalties, regardless of whether they are charged with or acquitted of the drunk driving offense in the future.
Why There Are Automatic Penalties for BAC Test Refusal?
The reason that BAC test refusals come with automatic penalties is that these refusals generally violate the express consent law in Colorado. This law, which may also be referred as the implied consent law, generally requires drivers to submit to chemical (i.e., BAC) testing when there is probable cause for a traffic officer to suspect intoxication or impairment.
Such probable cause can come in various forms, only some of which can include:
- Drivers’ involvement in traffic collisions
- Failures on field sobriety tests
- Drivers’ displaying signs of intoxication, such as smelling of alcohol and/or slurring their words.
General Penalties for BAC Test Refusals
When drivers refuse BAC testing in DUI stops, the automatic penalty will be a driver’s license suspension, the term of which typically varies as follows:
- 1st refusal – 1-year suspension
- 2nd refusal – 2-year suspension
- 3rd refusal – 3-year suspension.
More Important Info about BAC Test Refusals
- Switching BAC testing methods can count as a “refusal” – In other words, if a driver agrees to take a breath test and then changes his mind and decides he wants a blood test instead (or vice versa), this change can constitute a refusal, according to Colorado law.
- Refusals can be used against drivers later – This is extremely important to understand because many drivers who refuse BAC testing do so in an effort to avoid providing additional evidence of impairment to law enforcement. However, a unique aspect of DUI cases (as opposed to other criminal cases) is that these refusals CAN be used to try to establish impairment later (by, for example, arguing that the driver only refused because (s)he knew (s)he was impaired).
- Whether you refuse BAC testing or not, an experienced lawyer can help you craft the strongest possible defense case – And this is, perhaps, the most important takeaway, as a seasoned DUI lawyer can help you evaluate and pursue your best DUI defense options so you are able to bring your case to the best possible resolution.
Contact a Colorado Springs DUI Lawyer at Kohn Law Firm
Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI in Colorado? If so, a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer at Kohn Law Firm is ready to aggressively defend your rights and help you bring your case to a successful resolution.
To learn more about how one of our lawyers can help you, set up a free initial consultation with us by calling (719) 328-9555 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.
From our offices in Colorado Springs, we represent clients throughout the Pikes Peak region and Colorado.