When a police officer begins a DUI investigation, he or she will likely ask the driver to submit to a Field Sobriety Test, a Breathalyzer Test, or a Blood Alcohol Test. Protecting your own rights requires understanding each of these tests. To be sure that your rights are protected, speak with an experienced Denver DUI Attorney immediately if you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI).Â In orderÂ to begin an investigation for DUI, the police must have probable cause to believe that they may find something.
Field Sobriety Test
A field sobriety test, which is sometimes called a roadside test, is a “test” that the officer conducts of your motor skills, cognitive function, or reactions. Typical tests might include reciting the alphabet backwards, touching your nose with your fingertip, or asking you to catch an object tossed to you. This test is totally subjective, depends entirely on the observation and discretion of the officer and is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. Field sobriety tests do not test for the presence of alcohol in your system, they test, using the judgment of the police officer, your reactions, motor skills or cognitive function. If you â€œfailâ€ a field sobriety test, the officer will ask you to take either a breathalyzer test or a blood alcohol test. The officer may say that you failed regardless of your performance.Â While a field sobriety test cannot be used in courtÂ to prove that you had been drinking, the officer may testify to using the “test” to observe behavior that gave him or her cause to believe that you had been drinking. You need to understand that you are completely free to refuse to submit to a field sobriety test.
You have the right to refuse to submit to either a breathalyzer test or a blood alcohol test as well. However, if you refuse to submit to either test, under Colorado law you will face an automatic 12-month revocation of your driver’s license. If you fail either test, you face a 3-month suspension for a first offense. You do have the right to choose between the breathalyzer test and the blood alcohol test.
A breathalyzer does not measure the amount of alcohol in your blood, but rather the amount of alcohol in your breath, in order to estimate the amount of alcohol in your blood. A breathalyzer can be a very convenient test, because in many cases, the officer has the ability to administer the test in the field. Breathalyzer results are usable as evidence in court, even though their accuracy is questionable. The reason for the low accuracy is that there is not a direct relationship between alcohol in the blood and alcohol in the breath. In other words, two people with the same blood alcohol content may blow different results on a breathalyzer, depending on their individual body chemistries.
Blood Alcohol Test
The most accurate test used for DUI investigation is the blood alcohol test. This is the only test that actually measures the alcohol content of your blood. This test is more definitive than a breathalyzer, but less convenient. An officer does not have the ability to administer a blood alcohol test from the squad car on the side of the road. You will have to accompany the officer to a facility where the test can be administered.
Regardless of the method of investigation, if you have been charged with DUI or DWAI, it is imperative that you speak with a dedicated Denver DUI Attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. Alaurice Tafoya-Modi has helped numerous Coloradans charged with DUI. She has a thorough knowledge of both the criminal charges, and potential administrative consequences of DUI, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. For more information and a FREE CONSULTATION, contact Mrs. Tafoya-Modi at The Tafoya Law Firm at (303)813-1100 today.