Breath and Blood Tests: Determining BACs
Breath and blood tests are the primary forms of chemical testing that law enforcement officials use to evaluate drivers’ blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) during DUI stops. Generally, police request that drivers submit to breath or blood tests after having spoken to drivers for a bit and observing their performance in field sobriety tests (or after a driver has refused to submit to field sobriety testing).
How Breath and Blood Tests Work
Although breath and blood tests can be effective gauges of motorists’ BACs, these tests have to be administered correctly to ensure their results are accurate. For breath tests, this usually requires that law enforcement officials:
- Observe a driver for at least 20 minutes before administering a breathalyzer
- Not administer breathalyzers immediately after a driver has eaten something, belched or regurgitated
- Only use breathalyzer devices that have been properly calibrated.
For blood tests to be properly administered, the blood should be drawn by a trained and licensed blood draw technician (or nurse), and the drawn blood samples must be handled in a specific manner to ensure they are not contaminated.
It’s important to note that these are not the only requirements for properly administering breath and blood tests during DUI stops and that police reports for DUI stops should include the details of how these tests were administered.
The Consequences of Refusing Breath and Blood Tests
Driving in Colorado means that you have expressly consented to submit to breath and blood tests to measure your BAC if a police officer suspects you may be intoxicated. In other words, according to the Colorado Express Consent law, if a cop asks you to submit to BAC testing and you refuse:
- You could still be arrested for DUI.
- You will automatically lose your driver’s license for one year.
If you are ultimately convicted of DUI and you refused breath and blood tests during your DUI stop, then you may face some additional penalties when it comes to your driving privileges (as compared to people convicted of DUI who did submit to this testing during their DUI stop). In particular, here’s what you can expect:
|BAC Test Refusal||Driver’s License Suspension||Early Reinstatement?||Probationary License Possible?|
|1st DUI Conviction||1 year||NA||No|
|2nd DUI Conviction||2 years||after 1 year|
|3rd DUI Conviction||3 years||after 1 year|
Your DUI Defense: Refuting the Results of Breath and Blood Tests
Both the results of breath and blood tests – and people’s refusals to submit to them – can provide prosecutors with strong evidence against drivers in DUI cases. Specifically, while the breath and blood tests can provide results indicating a driver’s BAC, prosecutors can argue that a refusal to submit to these tests is “evidence” of a person’s guilt (as the driver didn’t want to submit because he was drunk, prosecutors may argue).
However, you should be aware that:
- The results of breath and blood tests are not always accurate.
- Depending on the facts of your case, it may be possible to argue that breath and blood tests were not properly administered and/or that their results are inaccurate.
- An experienced attorney can be essential to helping you mitigate the potential impacts of breath and blood tests so you can resolve your DUI case as favorably as possible.
Broomfield and Boulder DUI Defense Attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates
Have you or a loved one been charged with a DUI? If so, the Broomfield and Boulder DUI defense attorneys at the Peter Loyd Weber & Associates are ready to provide you with the strongest possible defense while helping you obtain the best possible outcome to your case.
To discuss your best DUI defense options, 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.
From our offices based in Northglenn, Broomfield and Boulder, we provide the strongest defense and highest quality legal services to our clients throughout Weld County, Adams County and the state of Colorado.