Imagine driving away from the bar – or the game, or anywhere you might have a drink or two – and seeing flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Would you be able to think critically and plan your best course of action? Or would you be like most people and panic, inadvertently doing or saying something that ended up hurting your case?
It’s no secret that Colorado police are zealous in pursuit of drunk drivers. And with Colorado’s legal limit being so low – a blood alcohol content as low as 0.05 is enough to be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired – even just a few drinks can put someone over the limit and in trouble with the law.
As with most things, it’s better to be proactive and learn your rights before you need to protect them. Here’s what you need to know:
You can (and should) remain silent
Other than truthfully identifying yourself, you are not required to talk to the police or answer any questions. You don’t have to tell them where you were, where you are going or whether you’ve had anything to drink.
Never talk to police without a lawyer present – this isn’t just your right, it’s also the smartest thing you can do to protect yourself. Be aware, though: the police don’t have to tell you about your right to remain silent until after you’re in custody. Protecting your rights is your responsibility.
You don’t have to take the field sobriety tests
Field sobriety tests are difficult on purpose. Even sober people can have difficulty passing them. If an officer asks you to take one of these tests, politely but firmly decline. The officer will likely try to convince you that performing a field sobriety test is in your own best interest. Simply reassert that you are declining to take the tests, and then remain silent. You are not required to provide any further explanation.
Declining a blood or breath test can have big risks
Colorado is an “implied consent” state, which means that when you get a driver’s license you give consent for a blood or breath test if you are arrested for DUI. While you are allowed to refuse the test, doing so can have big consequences. You will lose your license automatically. Plus, the prosecutor can use your test refusal as evidence against you.
What you do immediately after matters a lot
If you are arrested or given a citation for DUI or DWAI, what you do after can have a huge impact on your future. If you don’t take action immediately, you could, for example, lose your ability to keep your driver’s license. You may also miss valuable opportunities to collect evidence that could help your case.
It’s always a good idea to get help from an attorney. Most people simply don’t have the time or experience necessary to properly represent themselves in a drunk driving case. Call the attorneys at the Foley Law Firm for an initial consultation. We’ll help you understand your rights and options, and we’ll even come meet you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. Keep our number in your wallet, just in case – it’s 719-377-4024.