The Hard Choice: Take or Refuse to Submit to a Breath or Blood Test?

In Colorado, a driver arrested for DWAI or DUI has three options – choose a breath test, blood test, or refuse to take any test. Once the police officer has a probable cause that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances, he or she will advise you of the expressed consent law in Colorado.

Regardless of what the officer will say, everything boils down to a simple choice: agree to take the test to allow the law enforcement to determine your BAC or your driver license will be confiscated. It is advisable to contact a Denver DUI defense lawyer for legal counsel and also to build a strong defense if you are not guilty of the allegations.

If you choose to take a breath test, the officer will take to a nearby police station or a recommended facility where you can take the test from. The test will be carried using a breathalyzer, also known as an intoxylizer machine. The police officer may observe you for about 20 minutes to be sure that you don’t belch or do something that could result in stomach contents entering your mouth as this could lead to inaccurate results.

After 20 minutes of observation, you must blow into the intoxylizer machine as instructed by the officer. You will need to wait for twenty more minutes then, blow into the breathalyzer again. The results of the two ‘blows’ should be within a specific margin of error. Otherwise, the test results will be invalid. If the results are valid and your BAC is 0.08% or more, the officer will confiscate your driving license immediately. You have only seven days to request a hearing, probably to challenge the license suspension. Besides, you will be summoned in court for DUI offenses.

If you choose to take a blood test, you will be taken to a nearby medical facility for a blood draw. The process of drawing blood should be handled by a certified phlebotomist. He or she should draw two vials of blood, label them properly and send them to the right lab for further analysis. If the blood test results indicate a BAC that exceeds the legal limit, you will face DUI charges.

As mentioned earlier, you can choose a blood test, breath test, or refuse to take any of those tests. If you refuse to subject to a blood or breath test, you will still be charged with DUI. Your license will also be suspended immediately. The law allows the accused to challenge the license suspension at a hearing in front officers from the Division of Motor Vehicles.

You now have the three options. Which one would you choose when arrested for drunk driving? While your friends or colleagues might advise you not to take any test, it’s recommended to consult with your attorney if you don’t know what you should do.

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About the Author: Jacob Wyatt