If you have been drinking and get pulled over because a police officer suspects that you are too intoxicated to properly operate a vehicle, your best option seems simple: do not submit to a breathalyzer test, right? But will refusing to submit to a sobriety test cause more problems for you down the road?
Penalties for not Submitting to a Breathalyzer Test
Under Colorado’s “expressed consent” law, it is assumed that you consent to submit to a chemical test to show whether you are intoxicated or not if a few criteria are met. Namely, you have to be arrested because the arresting officer has probable cause to believe that you were driving while impaired. If the officer believes that you have been drinking, then you will be subject to a blood or breathalyzer test. If the officer believes that you have taken drugs, then you will be subject to a urine test. The tests will be administered within two hours from when you were driving last. Even if you have not been arrested, Colorado law says that you have consented to a preliminary breath test. Although you cannot typically be forced to take a test, refusal to submit to a chemical test can result in your license being suspended.
Are Breathalyzer Results Reliable?
Although breathalyzers are the most common and efficient way to measure someone’s intoxication level, they are not always accurate or reliable. Most notably, there is a lot of room for human error. In order for the results to be valid, the device must be calibrated correctly, and the person performing the breathalyzer needs to have been trained on its use and have experience with it for the results to be reliable. Since a police officer is required to follow strict procedures when administering a breathalyzer test, an experienced DUI defense attorney may be able to get breathalyzer test results dismissed from evidence. There also may be medical conditions that can be used to explain abnormal blood alcohol content levels or the appearance of intoxication.
How is Marijuana Use Tested?
Currently, marijuana use is typically tested via urine or blood samples, but these tests can be invasive – and not necessarily accurate. For example, these tests can pick up marijuana in someone’s system from weeks before. Saliva tests are another option for police officers to detect marijuana usage, and they may be favored because they are less invasive and can typically be done faster. However, with saliva tests, there is still the risk that prior marijuana use will show up even though its effects are not still impairing the driver’s cognitive abilities or motor skills. A marijuana breathalyzer may be in the works, but it is not yet being used.
Regardless of whether or not you have submitted to a chemical test, if you are being charged with a DUI, contact the DUI defense attorneys at the Denver Tiftickjian Law Firm today. Our team of experienced DUI lawyers is prepared to find the best defense to your case based on your individual circumstances.