If you are arrested for DUI in Colorado, your instincts may tell you to refuse the Breathalyzer or field sobriety test. These urges might be especially strong if you feel certain that you are not legally intoxicated. But in reality, your chances of a positive outcome are better if you comply with the arresting officers. Below are five things to do immediately after being arrested for DUI in Colorado and the single most important thing to do if you are arrested for DUI.
Arrested for DUI in Colorado? Here’s what to do
1) Comply with the officers
Complying with police officers when you are under the influence of alcohol is not always easy. For example, if an officer requests your name and date of birth or asks to see your license and registration, you should provide these items without hesitation. It is important to recognize that you can be compliant without answering questions that may prove to be incriminating. You can remain silent and be fully compliant.
2) Do not refuse the Breathalyzer
This step may seem counter-intuitive if you are worried that you have overindulged in alcohol and feel like you may fail the Breathalyzer. However, there are three key reasons why you should not refuse a breathalyzer:
- Reason #1: You demonstrate compliance with law enforcement officials
- Reason #2: False positives are possible, with Breathalyzers producing an error rate of between .005 to .02%. There are also medical conditions that can affect the accuracy of these tests.
- Reason #3: Police officers may use Breathalyzers incorrectly, thereby influencing the results
- Bonus reason: Results are lower with a breathalyzer if you have been drinking recently. If you wait until you get a blood test after a recent drink, your BAC could be much higher.
3) Follow the instructions for the field sobriety test
If the officer asks you to complete a field sobriety test, make sure you listen carefully to the instructions and do your best to follow them. You will be asked to perform a series of simple tasks, such as walking, turning, and standing on one leg. As the officer asks you to complete these tasks, make sure that you do the following:
- Remove your glasses when the officer asks you. This is necessary for completing The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test.
- Do not start any of the tasks until the officer asks you to begin. A premature start is often interpreted as a sign of impairment.
- Ask for instructions to be repeated if you did not hear them or if you do not fully understand them.
- Remember to keep your arms at your sides during the Walk and Turn and One-Leg Stand exercises.
4) Do not say anything that could incriminate you
You may feel tempted to engage with the arresting officers or share information about the circumstances leading up to your arrest. This is generally not a good idea, as you could end up inadvertently sharing details that could be used against you during your case. Here are some appropriate ways to politely respond to questions from officers:
- “I would like to have a lawyer present before I respond to any questions.”
- “I prefer not to answer any questions at this time.”
Remember that compliance is not always synonymous with verbally answering questions or conversing with officers. You have the right to remain silent, and you should. Officers will sometimes ask questions in an effort to support their claims that you are intoxicated.
5) Wait to sober up
After you are arrested for DUI, law enforcement officials may proceed in a number of different ways. Depending upon the circumstances, they may serve you with a summons regarding your court hearing and then release you to a sober individual who agrees to sign for your custody. Another course of action that officers may choose is to take you to a detox facility, where you will be required to produce a breath sample that confirms your sobriety before you can be released.
Finally, officers may choose to book you at a county detention facility until bond is posted for your release.
What is the single most important thing to do after being arrested for DUI?
As outlined above, there are some simple steps you can take to make the most of a very unpleasant situation. However, the single most important step to take is to contact a Colorado Springs DUI attorney immediately. An experienced DUI attorney with a proven track record of success will help you navigate through the complexities of the DUI landscape and outline the best course of action for you to take. Here are five specific ways that an experienced DUI lawyer can help you:
1) Represent you throughout the criminal court process
Many people facing DUI charges have little experience with the Colorado court system — especially if they are facing their first DUI offense. In these cases, it is helpful to have an experienced attorney to provide guidance and communicate with legal officials on your behalf.
2) Challenge your license suspension
If you are like many Colorado residents, the prospect of losing your license and being unable to drive presents major challenges. Prior to your arraignment, a DUI attorney can formally challenge your license suspension to help increase the chances that you can retain your license.
3) Help you prepare for your upcoming court date
Filing paperwork in a timely fashion, dressing properly for Court, and knowing how to respond to questions are factors that can all impact your outcome. A Colorado Springs DUI lawyer can provide valuable advice on each of these points and help ensure that you are fully prepared for your court date.
4) Identify weaknesses or holes in the case against you
Experienced DUI attorneys can spot inconsistencies and weaknesses in your case that you may not consider. For example, they may question the results of your field sobriety test or chemical tests, or, they may find that your traffic stop was not legal.
5) Guide you on whether to accept a plea deal
A plea deal is sometimes a better option than taking your chances in court. In addition to saving you time and money, a plea deal can help you avoid a costly jury trial. As your legal representative, a DUI lawyer will negotiate the best deal possible on your behalf and help you determine whether you should accept the deal or take your chances in court.
Most importantly, seeking a DUI attorney will help increase the chances of a successful outcome in your criminal trial. By serving as your trusted advocate throughout the criminal court process, a DUI attorney can also help you carefully evaluate your options through an objective lens to help ensure that you make the best decisions in your case.