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Being stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence is always a frightening experience. This can be true even if you believe you are able to drive safely and aren’t intoxicated. However, even if you believe you have something useful to tell the officer, you don’t have to say anything. It’s important to know what your rights are and how to best protect yourself from a DUI arrest or conviction. If you need help because you were pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, Attorney Kevin Churchill from Churchill Criminal Defense can help. Contact us today at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
You are under no obligation to say anything to the officer who stops you. You should respectfully provide any information they request, such as your name, license, and registration. However, beyond that, you don’t have to answer any of their questions. Never offer to say anything extra at all if you get stopped. Your words will be used against you. If you’re arrested, you should inform the officers that you are asserting your 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination and that you’d like an attorney present for any questioning.
If an officer believes you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs but hasn’t arrested you yet, they may request that you take a preliminary breath test. This is a handheld breathalyzer that will give them an approximate reading of your BAC. This is different than an actual breathalyzer test. You do not have to submit to the preliminary test, and you will not lose your license or be otherwise punished for doing so.
In Colorado, you can usually choose which chemical test you’d like to take: breath, blood, or urine. There are limited circumstances where the officer can choose the test for you, such as if one of the devices is inoperable, leaving only one type of test available, or if they have reason to believe you’re under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. In this case, they can request a blood test and they do not have to give you a choice.
If you’re stopped for a suspected DUI, the officer will likely try to convince you to submit to roadside tests – field sobriety tests – such as standing on one leg, walking and turning, and other acts that may provide evidence that you are intoxicated. In Colorado, you do not have to agree to these roadside tests, and there’s no penalty for refusing to do so. It can be difficult to perform some of these tests even if you aren’t intoxicated, especially if you’re nervous and it’s dark outside. If you don’t feel comfortable submitting to the roadside test, you don’t have to.
It’s important to know your rights because knowledge of the law can help you avoid an arrest for driving under the influence in the first place. It’s never advisable to speak with law enforcement if you don’t have an attorney with you. This is your right and it cannot be held against you. In the event that you were stopped and the situation escalated into your being arrested, contact an attorney right away. Attorney Kevin Churchill has been handling DUI cases for more than 20 years and has defended over 1,000 DUI cases. Contact our Denver DUI attorney today at (303) 832-9000 or use our easy online contact form to schedule a free consultation.