What You Need to Know About Breathalyzer Tests & DUI Defense in Colorado
If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), it is likely that you were subjected to a breathalyzer test, the results of which constituted a violation of Colorado's drunk driving laws. You may feel as if the results of the breathalyzer test all but guarantee your conviction, and because of this, you are thinking about pleading guilty to avoid what you believe will be an ultimately fruitless trial. But there is hope. With the assistance of an experienced Colorado Springs DUI defense attorney, you have a chance at fighting your drunk driving charges.
At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our compassionate legal team has provided countless clients with quality legal representation in their DUI cases. From the DMV hearing to the criminal trial, we work closely with our clients every step of the way and ensure that they understand their position along with their options throughout the process. If you are seeking an attorney who truly cares, call our office today at (719) 475-2555.
A breathalyzer test determines whether a person's blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the state-imposed limits by taking a breath sample and scanning it for alcohol content. The test is administered through a machine that is usually a box with a tube attachment. The person being tested blows through the tube to provide a breath sample. The scanning equipment inside the box receives the breath sample, "reads" it, and measures how many alcohol molecules there are against the total number of molecules in the sample, creating a percentage.
According to Colorado's criminal statutes regarding drunk driving, a driver who blows a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 percent is presumed to be driving while his or her ability is impaired by alcohol (DWAI). A driver who blows a BAC of 0.08 percent or more is presumed to be guilty of DUI. Both are considered serious violations that may incur both administrative penalties and criminal penalties if the driver is convicted of either offense in the court of law.
Colorado's expressed consent law states that drivers who have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence must subject themselves to a chemical test of their blood or breath, or they will face automatic penalties. The test must be taken within two hours of the time the suspected driver was pulled over, unless "extraordinary circumstances" present themselves (weather delays, power outages, broken equipment, et cetera). The driver at least has the option of choosing what kind of test is administered. Any resistance during this process may be construed as refusal.
Furthermore, a suspected driver has to comply with a preliminary breath test, or a roadside test, even if an arrest has not been made. Refusal may cause the officer to become more suspicious and find another reason to make an arrest, and the arrested person will have to comply to a chemical test anyway.
Under Colorado law, a first-time refusal automatically results in a one-year license suspension period. A second refusal results in a two-year license suspension period. Any subsequent refusals result in a three-year license suspension period.
You may not plead the Fifth in order to avoid a chemical test. A refusal is a refusal and the penalties that come with it will be automatically granted, no matter your Constitutional rights.
At the Bussey Law Firm, our Colorado DUI defense lawyers have decades of experience helping people like YOU beat their DUI cases. There are many defenses concerning breathalyzer results: The machine used may have been improperly calibrated or maintained; The officer who administrated the test may have not been following proper procedures; etc. If we can establish any of these things in court, your case may be dropped altogether. To learn more about your options in a free consultation, contact our office today.
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