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What to know about refusing sobriety tests in Colorado

Being pulled over by a Colorado police officer can be a terrifying experience if you have had anything alcoholic to drink. Even if you don't think you are legally intoxicated, it is still possible that you could be over the legal limit of 0.08 percent without realizing it. In the span of a few minutes, your life could be turned upside down if you are arrested for drunk driving.

Because of how damaging a DUI conviction can be, it is crucial that you understand your rights when it comes to traffic stops and preliminary intoxication tests. For instance, do you know if you can refuse to take sobriety tests and what the consequences might be?

Generally speaking, drivers do not have to submit to preliminary testing like a roadside breath test or field sobriety tests. In many cases, these methods of testing to measure intoxication are shown to be inaccurate, improperly conducted or misleading, which is why many people choose to refuse sobriety tests unless they are mandatory.

However, refusing these tests can and typically do result in penalties including license suspension. Your driving privileges can be suspended automatically for up to two years if you refuse to submit to preliminary testing because it is a violation of Colorado's implied consent laws.

It will be important to weigh your options based on the situation at hand. No matter what you choose to do, you have the right to speak with an attorney. Whether you want to seek license reinstatement, challenge the accuracy of preliminary test results or defend yourself against DUI charges, legal representation can be crucial.

Police officers are expected to be very familiar with drunk driving laws and procedures which means that you can be at a distinct disadvantage when you are speaking with an officer on the side of the road. Remembering your rights and discussing your case with an attorney can help to even the playing field and minimize any potential consequences.

Source:, "Colorado DUI Laws," accessed on Feb. 2, 2015

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