It depends on the circumstances is the short answer. That’s because:
- There are automatic penalties that can be imposed following BAC test refusals during Colorado DUI stops – These penalties involve an automatic driver’s license suspension, the term of which will depend on whether drivers have prior DUIs. For a first-time refusal, a one-year license suspension will typically go into effect. For a second or third refusal, the suspension term will usually increase to two or three years (respectively).
- Refusals can serve as evidence against drivers if they are later charged with a DUI offense – This is very important for motorists to realize, as they usually refuse BAC testing thinking that this will help their DUI defense case later. Unlike with other criminal cases, however, refusing to provide “evidence” to law enforcement officials (in the form of BAC test results) can also be evidence against the accused. That’s because it’s legal for prosecutors to argue later that the refusal was an attempt to hide intoxication or drug impairment – in other words, it could be used as “evidence” of “consciousness of guilt” for the offense.
More Important Info about BAC Test Refusals & DUI Cases: What Else Motorists Need to Know
Clearly, there can be some significant downsides to refusing BAC testing during DUI stops. However, here’s what else motorists should be aware of when it comes to BAC test refusals and their potential impacts:
- The penalties for refusals will still be imposed even if DUI charges are later dropped or if the accused is acquitted of the charges – This is surprising to a lot of people, but it is, nevertheless, true. This is because there are at least two cases against motorists hit with DUI charges (the criminal case and the administrative case). So, if charges are dropped in the criminal DUI case, this will not typically impact the outcome of the administrative case, particularly if a driver refused BAC testing.
- Refusing a BAC test can, in some cases, be helpful for the accused – Specifically, when drivers may have higher blood alcohol levels (like above 0.15), refusing testing may be a good move, as it could prevent officers and prosecutors from having potentially compelling evidence against them.
- There can be defense arguments to try to explain why drivers refused BAC testing – For instance, it may be possible to argue that officers failed to provide the required expressed consent warnings (alerting drivers to the consequences of test refusals) and, therefore, the refusal cannot be used as evidence against the accused.
The Bottom Line about BAC Test Refusals
When it comes to the issue of submitting to or refusing BAC testing during DUI stops, the bottom line is that drivers should evaluate whether the administrative penalties are worth it in light of their BACs and the possible penalties they could face in the event they may have extremely high BACs.
Contact the Adams County and Boulder DUI Lawyers at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates
Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI? If so, the Adams County and Boulder DUI lawyers at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates are ready to immediately start defending you. Our primary concern is protecting your constitutional rights throughout the criminal process while helping you obtain the best possible outcome to your case.
To talk about your defense and how we can help you, call us today at (720) 863-7755 or email us using the contact form on this page. We offer complimentary consultations, and we take pride in always being available to our clients – 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – so that they have the personal attention their case deserves.