Police want convictions and have the tools to arrest and charge you in Denver of DUI / DWAI, particularly if you make it easy for them. You can do this by forgetting what you are required and not required to do when stopped and accused of drinking and driving.
First, remember it is not illegal to drink and drive – really! People can have a few drinks spread out over time, and with food, and not exceed the legal BAC limit. So, don’t feel like you are guilty of something if Jefferson, Arapahoe or Douglas County police pull you over and accuse you of DUI / DWAI. Next, you should know what the law requires of you when pulled over.
How Police Form Probable Cause
Police must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to pull you over. Next, they must have probable cause to arrest you. To achieve probable cause, they look at things like your driving (weaving, crashing, etc.) and your physical characteristics (how you move, talk, look). As a standard practice, police want to get more evidence to support probable cause. One important way they do this is by asking you to complete voluntary roadside maneuvers. Voluntary means you are not required to do them. Unfortunately, many State Patrol, Sheriff and Police officers do not tell you these tests are voluntary – they know you would likely decline to do them if you knew that.
Adams, Lincoln and Elbert County roadside maneuvers are tests to see if you’ve had too much to drink. The Romberg (balance test), walk and turn, alphabet, one leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests are all evidence of intoxication. So, why would anyone take these tests? If a driver declines them, the officer must make their probable cause arrest decision without them. This makes it easier to later challenge the legality of the officer’s arrest.
A Required DUI / DWAI Test in Colorado
It is important for drivers to also know what test they must take: the blood alcohol (BAC) test at a hospital or police station. All drivers in Colorado are required by Express Consent to elect either a blood or breath test when arrested for DUI / DWAI. The results of this test are used in court to prove your exact level of sobriety or drunkenness. While you must take this BAC test, you do not need to take the portable breath test (PBT) at the roadside. The PBT is a handheld tool used in making the probable cause arrest decision – similar to the roadside tests.
Don’t help police make their case against you. Always politely decline the roadside and PBT tests. If stopped by police or arrested, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact our experienced DUI / DWAI attorneys at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.