You were just heading home from a office party when…
The siren has stopped screaming; the red and blue overhead lights are flashing; the law enforcement officer has left his/her vehicle and is walking up to the driver’s window of your car. You know that you have consumed alcohol earlier. Your adrenaline is spiking. What happens next? What should I do?
Whether it is the first time you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of DUI or your second or third time, it is always an anxiety filled event. You are potentially facing jail time, hefty fines, revocation of your drivers license, and months of alcohol classes and monitored sobriety. No time to lose your cool. Take a deep breath. Be prepared to be evaluated by someone whose goal is to decide whether to arrest you for DUI.
In Colorado, roadside sobriety tests are VOLUNTARY – you do NOT have to do them. Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s) are notoriously inaccurate. Some say they are actually designed for failure. We recommend to our clients that you do NOT have to breath into the portable breath test device (PBT). The PBT is so unreliable that it is not permissible as evidence in court. We usually recommend to our clients that they politely DECLINE to do them.
Depending on the facts of your case, there are many other aspects of what may happen next – too many to discuss here. Recent changes in the law make a refusal no worse than being found to be over the limit (0.08), with regard to license revocation. In fact, taking the test, resulting in a high BAC may be worse than not taking the test at all. If you have any kind of drugs in your system, the blood test may discover them. Beware. If in doubt, take the breath test.
Be pleasant and cooperative with the officer(s), but remember – everything you say WILL be used against you. Be brief. Save the details. Don’t initiate a conversation while you’re in the backseat of the police car. Your statements are NOT protected by Miranda. Do NOT request to be given a ride home or to not be charged with an offense. That only makes things worse. You have no right to talk to an attorney before you are actually in custody, so don’t ask.
If you have already been arrested and cited for DUI/DUID/DWAI, call us. We can help you. A lot of twists and turns lie ahead – we don’t recommend that you try to navigate them on your own. Call 303.443.6690 for a free consultation.