Know Your Rights
Know Your Rights During a Colorado DUI Stop
What You Need to Know If You Are Pulled Over for DUI
When you are involved in a Colorado DUI stop, the first thing you should remember is to be courteous and cooperative. The officer who pulled you over will decide whether or not to pursue a investigation.
That being said, you are not required to respond to any question that may incriminate you. In other words, you have the right to remain silent.
Oftentimes, the first thing a police officer will ask is, "How many drinks have you had tonight?" They ask questions like this in order to gain any evidence they can against you. You do not have to help them build their case.
Remember the following if you are pulled over for DUI:
- Don't help the officers make a case against you. Anything you say (admission of drinking) or do (roadside maneuvers) can and will be used against you. Exercise your right to remain silent.
- Field sobriety tests are completely voluntary. You do not have to do these!
- You have the choice of a blood test, breath test, or test refusal.
- You do not have the right to speak to an attorney before choosing a chemical test.
- Refusing a chemical test carries a mandatory one-year revocation of your driving privileges.
- Blood tests can be re-tested. Breath tests cannot.
- Roadside, portable, or preliminary breath tests (PBTs) are voluntary. They cannot be used to prove guilt or innocence in court, but can be used as evidence to support an arrest.
- In all breath test or refusal cases, you only have seven (7) calendar days to respond in order to protect your driving privileges and avoid an automatic revocation of your driver's license.
You are not required by any Colorado DUI laws to perform a roadside sobriety test. Knowing this will keep you from incriminating yourself and helping the officer build a case against you for driving under the influence.
These roadside sobriety tests include any:
- Number-counting or alphabet-reciting exercise
- Tests where you must walk a straight line or stand on one foot
- Eye examinations
- Preliminary breath test (PBT)
You should know that if you refuse a chemical test, which is a blood or breath test performed at a police station, you could automatically lose your license and still be charged with DUI or DWAI based on other evidence.
Remember That the Law Is Not on Your Side
You have legal rights in any criminal case; however, in DUI cases, you have fewer rights than just about any other alleged crime in the United States. This is what some call "The DUI Exception." DUI is one of the few criminal offenses where you do not have the right to speak to an attorney before incriminating yourself.
Upon arrest, the police officer will advise you that you have "expressly consented" to submit to a chemical test of your breath or blood by driving on the public roadways of Colorado. Which test are you willing to take – breath or blood? If you choose to refuse a chemical test, your license will be revoked for a minimum of one year.
Keep in mind you do not have the right to consult or speak with a DUI attorney before choosing a test. Upon submitting to a test, you have now provided incriminating evidence against yourself.
So not only do you not have a right to speak with an attorney before choosing a test, but upon taking a test, you have now provided incriminating evidence that will be used against you. Because of the so-called "DUI exception" to the Constitution, defending a DUI case can be difficult. It requires the skill of a competent lawyer.
What to Do After a DUI Arrest in Colorado
For adults 21 and older, Colorado law mandates the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle at .08 percent. If you are found to be over the legal limit through a blood or breath test, you will most likely be brought up on charges for driving under the influence. If are facing DUI charges in Denver or elsewhere in Colorado, you have seven calendar days to schedule a hearing with the Colorado DMV or you will automatically have your license revoked.
If convicted of DUI in a criminal court, you face very serious consequences. The severity of those consequences is contingent upon many variables, such as number of prior offenses, BAC level, cooperation with the police, and all other aggravating and mitigating information. When you are charged with DUI, it is always best to consult with a lawyer. At the Orr Law Firm, we deal specifically with DUI and criminal traffic cases in and around Denver.
Call the Orr Law Firm at (303) 747-4247 to get started with a FREE consultation.