The answer to this question varies, but there are a few vital deciding factors in it all. In other words, whether or not you can, in fact, refuse taking a breathalyzer test in Colorado depends on the situation.
Let's look further into this.
When You Can Refuse
If you are 21 years or older, in Colorado and many other U.S. states, you may have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test in some circumstances, and those circumstances all depend on whether or not you have been officially arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
If you have not been arrested for a DUI, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test or any field sobriety test (FST) without consequence. This also means that, in this situation, the results of any test you have not consented to cannot be used against you in the court of law.
When You Should Not Refuse
On the other hand, if you have been arrested for a DUI, then you no longer have the right to refuse any testing, including a breathalyzer. This is because Colorado has an "express consent" law that sees driving as a privilege, not a right, that can be taken away as soon as you are validly arrested for driving under the influence. Using the privilege of driving means that you also consent to testing following an arrest. Once you have officially been arrested, all tests should not be refused, and their results can be used against you in court.
Additionally, anyone under 21 suspected of driving under the influence may not refuse a breathalyzer test, whether or not you have been arrested. In this case, a police officer may use a breathalyzer if he or she suspects you have consumed any alcohol.
If you do refuse a breathalyzer or any test after you have been arrested, however, you may have to face serious consequences. Your driver's license may be automatically suspended, you may be required to attend rehabilitation classes, and your refusal itself may be used against you in court, among other penalties.
Though the answer as to whether or not you may refuse a breathalyzer test varies, you can take advantage of refusal just by knowing when you are able to use it.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, our team at the Law Office of Kevin Cahill can help defend your rights. Give us a call today (720) 548-2990 to learn more about how we can help over a free consultation.