If you were recently arrested for drunk driving in Colorado, you probably have questions. This can be a terrifying time if you don't know what to expect, which is why you should move quickly to discuss your options with a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer at Geoff Heim, Attorney, LLC. I have represented hundreds of clients over the last decade, many of which were charged with driving under the influence, so you can count on me to provide the experienced criminal defense that you need.
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#1: Am I legally required to take a breath or blood test?
According to Colorado's implied consent law, you are required to submit a breath or blood sample for testing once you have been arrested for driving under the influence. Although you do have the right to refuse, this will not stop law enforcement from charging you with a crime. Your license will also be suspended for a longer period of time if you refuse to take a chemical test – up to 12 months.
#2: Do I have to participate in a field sobriety test?
Unlike the requirements for chemical testing, there is no law stating that you must participate in any sort of field sobriety testing. This includes roadside tests like the one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. These are preliminary tests that are designed to test a driver's physical and cognitive functions. If you perform poorly, it would give the officer probable cause to make an arrest.
#3: If the officer didn't read me my rights, will I win my case?
When a law enforcement officer makes an initial traffic stop, whether they suspect that you are under the influence or not, they can ask you questions without having to read you your Miranda rights. It isn't until the officer has placed you under arrest that they are required to read you your rights. If you made incriminating statements after you were arrested, it is possible that they could be suppressed.
#4: Am I required to answer the officer's questions?
Absolutely not! Although you are required to identify who you are, you are not required to answer any questions that could incriminate you. The officer may try to trap you into admitting guilt by asking questions like "How much have you had to drink tonight?" but you are not required to answer. In this situation, it would be in your best interest to politely state that would like to remain silent.
#5: Can I contest the suspension of my driver's license?
Once you are arrested for DUI, the officer will confiscate your driver's license. From this point, you will only have seven days to request a hearing with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). At this hearing, you will have the chance to contest the impending suspension by showing that it would be unlawful for one or reasons—which may include lack of probable cause or improper administration of tests.
#6: Should I choose the breath test or blood test?
Once you have been arrested for DUI, you have the option to take a breath or blood test. Although the choice is yours, you may want to opt for the breath test—since it is often less reliable than the blood test. Many factors could result in an inaccurate breath test result, which could work toward your advantage. In either case, it is important to remember that a failed test does not equate guilt.
#7: How long will my driver's license be suspended?
If this is your first DUI offense, and you took a chemical test, your driver's license will be suspended for 90 days. If you refused to take a test, your license will be suspended for 12 months. The period of suspension will also be longer if this is your second or third offense. For a second DUI offense, your license could be suspended for one year. For a third offense, it could be suspended for two years.
Still have questions? Contact Geoff Heim, Attorney, LLC today!
If you still have questions about your DUI case, please do not hesitate to contact my firm for a free consultation. As a DUI attorney in Colorado Springs with more than 15 years of experience, I can answer all of your questions, help you understand what to expect and assist you in crafting an effective defense. I have already helped hundreds of other clients, and I'm ready to assist you.
Contact my office today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.