Many individuals in the Denver area likely know someone who has gotten arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) at some point in their lives. Though no two arrests for DUI are exactly alike, many arrests have certain steps that commonly occur. The following is some information regarding a typical DUI arrest.
Initial traffic stop
In order to lawfully stop you while you are driving, an officer must at least have reasonable suspicion that you had violated some type of law. It could be that you forgot to use your turn signal or swerved out of your lane, but police must be able to articulate some violation to justify a stop, otherwise the stop was in violation of your 4th Amendment rights.
Officer’s questioning and observations
Even if an officer did not pull you over on suspicion of DUI, he may suspect that you had been drinking based on questions or observations. For example, officers often cite they smelled alcohol on a driver’s breath, noticed bloodshot eyes, or other signs of intoxicated. Officers may ask you where you have been, if you have been drinking, and other questions to try to gather more evidence of intoxication.
Field sobriety tests
Officers may request that you perform a variety of tasks at the scene of the traffic stop known as field sobriety tests (FSTs). These tests are intended to determine levels of intoxication, though are far from always accurate. An officer can testify to your performance if you have a later trial.
You may be asked to undergo chemical testing such as a Breathalyzer or blood test. Though you can–and often should–refuse to be tested prior to your arrest if the officer has no warrant, you will have to deal with an administrative license suspension due to Colorado’s implied consent law. This suspension can be appealed, however.
If the police believe they have enough probable cause that you were driving under the influence, they will likely place you under arrest and detain you at the nearest jail. If you did not previously undergo a chemical test, you may likely have your blood drawn after an arrest. Depending on your situation, you will be released from jail when someone bails you out, when you appear sober (usually overnight), or if a judge releases you on personal recognizance. The case will then be submitted to the prosecutor to decide whether or not to issue DUI charges.
Discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney in Denver today
In spite of the above commonalities, every DUI case has its own individual facts and circumstances that must be thoroughly investigated in order for you to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. An experienced DUI defense lawyer who understands the Denver criminal justice system will know how to investigate in order to identify violations of your constitutional rights by law enforcement or other holes in the prosecutor’s case. If you are facing any type of DUI-related charge, please call the Tiftickjian Law Firm in Denver today at (303) DUI-5280 to see how we can help you.