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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / DUI / Can I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test?

Can I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test?


If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving and the police have probable cause to conduct a breathalyzer test, can you refuse it? In short, you can refuse, but in doing so you will be violating Colorado law and subjecting yourself to increased penalties. It is important to remember that there are a range of defense options if you are arrested following a breath test, which means it often makes more sense to take the test and to work with an attorney afterward to get the charges dropped. While each case is different, it is important to understand the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test and what your options are afterward.

Colorado’s Express Consent Law

 Under Colorado law, by driving on the roads around Denver or Brighton, you have provided express consent according to the statute (or implied consent) to be subject to a chemical test to determine whether or not you are intoxicated. Here is what the statute says:

“A person who drives a motor vehicle upon the streets and highways and elsewhere throughout this state shall be required to take and complete, and to cooperate in the taking and completing of, any test or tests of the person’s breath or blood for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of the person’s blood or breath when so requested and directed by a law enforcement officer having probable cause to believe that the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of the prohibitions against DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, or UDD.”

In other words, you have already given your consent to a breath test just by driving, and if you refuse a breath test, you will be in violation of Colorado law. As such, you will be subject to penalties — even if the DWAI or DUI charges against you are dropped — that can include:

  • Automatic driver’s license suspension for one year;
  • Paying for additional insurance; and
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your car.

When you refuse a breath test, Colorado law also allows you to be designated as a “persistent drunk driver,” which results in some of those penalties above beyond the one-year driver’s license suspension.

Seeking an Administrative Hearing to Get Your License Back 

If you refuse a breath test, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended. You can request an administrative hearing and can work with a defense lawyer to attempt to get your suspended license reinstated. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to get your license back in a “restricted” manner if you agree to certain terms, such as having an ignition interlock device installed in your car and attending an education program.

Contact Our Brighton DWAI and DUI Defense Attorney

Were you recently stopped by the police and told you needed to take a breathalyzer test? Both refusing to take a breath test, or taking a breath test that shows a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit, can result in significant legal consequences. Yet it is important to know that there are defense strategies that may allow you to avoid a DWAI or DUI conviction or to get your license back following a revocation. It will be critical to discuss the details of your case with a lawyer who can help. The experienced Brighton, CO DUI defense attorney at DeChant Law can speak with you about your defense options if you have refused a breathalyzer or if a breathalyzer test resulted in a DUI or DWAI arrest. Our Colorado defense attorney is here to help. Contact us today.



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