No matter why a police officer initially pulls you over, he or she will take certain steps to investigate if he or she suspects that you have been drinking. While every case and situation is different, there are some common things that you can expect if a police officer suspects you of drunk driving. If you find yourself in this position, be polite and respectful, and contact an attorney as soon as you are able to do so. In any case, you should expect:
- To be asked if you have been drinking. While your tendency may be to cooperate with the police officer and tell him or her if you have been drinking, your best bet is to remain silent. Answer basic questions about your name, address, driver’s license, and insurance coverage, but leave out any details about whether you have been drinking, where you have been, and whether you are impaired. Remember that any statements that you make about your alcohol consumption at that time can be used against you later when you are facing DUI charges in court. It is best to talk with a Denver DUI attorney before talking to anyone else about your situation.
- To be asked to take field sobriety tests. During a traffic stop, a police officer may suspect that you have been drinking if you or your vehicle smells like alcohol, if your speech is slurred, if your eyes are bloodshot and glassy, or if alcohol appears to have impaired your driving ability or your behavior. Field sobriety tests might include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk and Turn, and the One-Leg Stand. While the last two tests are pretty self-explanatory, HGN simply tests your ability to follow an object, such as a pen or a fingertip, with your eyes.
- To be asked to take a chemical test. If a police officer believes that you have been drinking and driving in Colorado, he or she likely will ask you to take a test that measures the amount of alcohol in your breath or your blood alcohol content (BAC). Under Colorado’s express consent law, you must consent to the test if a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you are drinking and driving. Colorado law enforcement officers use a standard breathalyzer device in order to measure the amount of alcohol in your breath. A phlebotomist or other medical technician also can draw your blood in order to determine your BAC. While these tests can produce accurate results, they also may produce incorrect results, which can form the basis for a defense to DUI charges.
- To face DUI charges and the suspension of your driver’s license. From the moment that you are accused of drunk driving, your driver’s license is at risk. A DUI conviction also potentially brings about serious consequences, including a permanent criminal record, required community service hours, placement on probation, incarceration, and even the loss of your job in some industries. Additionally, some of the financial consequences may include a large increase in your auto insurance premiums, court fines, legal fees, fees related to the towing and impounding of the vehicle that you were driving, ignition interlock installation and maintenance fees, license reinstatement fees, probation fees, and community service supervision fees.
If you or a family member is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, follow our advice closely and call the Denver DUI attorneys at the Tiftickjian Law Firm at (303) DUI-5280 today.