Should I consent to the chemical test?

A question that always comes up is – do I have to take the breath test if I’ve been pulled over for suspected DUI?   I’ve seen a lot of clients lately who have refused to take a chemical test (a blood or breath test for alcohol or a blood, breath, or urine test for drugs) because they thought that they were protected by their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

In Colorado, it usually does no good to refuse the test.   Under Colorado’s Express Consent Law, you are required to consent to a chemical test if you are lawfully arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.  Failure to consent can result in the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) revoking your driver’s license for a year, with no possibility of a probationary license, hardship license, red license or early reinstatement with an Interlock restriction.  Your license can be revoked for two years for your second refusal and three years for your third and subsequent refusals.  Furthermore, if the state does not have the results of a chemical test, you can still be found guilty of a DUI or DWAI.

If you consented to the test, it was your first violation, and your results were .08 or more, however, you may receive a nine-month revocation, and you may be eligible for early reinstatement with a restricted license (one-month revocation plus eight-month with an Interlock).  If your BAC was 0.17 or more, you must have an Interlock restricted license for at least two years (this will change to a BAC of 0.15 or more in January of 2014).

In January of 2014, this will change for driver’s who have no prior alcohol related offenses.  A driver who refuses a chemical test and has their license revoked on this basis will be eligible for early reinstatement with an Interlock restriction after they have served two months of having their driver’s license revoked.