Breathalyzers and Sobriety Tests: Know Your Rights in Colorado

In Colorado, officers often use standardized field sobriety test batteries and breath testing devices in DUI investigations.

Laws and policies governing the use of these tools appear to give officers wide latitude. However, you have rights to protect you against overreaching or aggressive law enforcement tactics.

Being knowledgeable of these rights before-hand will prepare you to act appropriately if you’re pulled over and investigated for impaired driving.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) in Colorado

Before placing you under arrest, a law enforcement officer must have probable cause to conclude that you’re driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while your ability to drive is impaired (DWAI).

In developing probable cause, the officer is entitled to rely on observations, odors, your appearance, mannerisms and any statements you make to determine whether you’re impaired.

The standardized field sobriety test battery consists of three tests:

1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test;

2. The Walk-and-Turn Test;

3. And the One-Leg Stand Test.

You do have the right to refuse to perform these tests. Bear in mind however, that the officer and prosecutor are permitted to infer that you refused to perform SFSTs because you knew you were too impaired to complete the tests successfully.

Colorado’s Express Consent Law

During a roadside investigation, an officer may request a preliminary breath test using a handheld device. If you’re placed under arrest, the officer may also ask you to provide a breath sample at the jail or police station on a breath test machine such as an Intoxilyzer.

Colorado’s express consent law requires drivers to consent to a chemical test if an officer has reasonable grounds for a DUI charge.

The law also permits the State to suspend your driver’s license if you refuse to complete an “Intoxilyzer” breath test.

Contact a Brighton DUI Defense Attorney

Upon completing or refusing an officer’s tests, you have the right to speak with an attorney. Contact John Anderson at (303) 880-7994 today to discuss your DUI charge. Our firm will provide you with a comprehensive look at your case, what you can expect, and what steps are available to find a resolution. We also assist clients in Arvada, Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Strasburg, Thornton, Westminster, and Bennett areas.