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Colorado DUI laws set to become significantly tougher in 2014

Beginning January 1, those arrested in Colorado for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) will face a harsher reality if they elect to refuse alcohol testing such as breathalyzers and blood tests. The impact of these law changes will likely be substantial given that, according to MADD, more than 7,300 Colorado drivers refused testing in 2012 – representing nearly 30 percent of the roughly 25,000 DUI arrests in Colorado that year.

Specifically, starting in 2014, any driver that refuses an alcohol test after being arrested for DUI in Colorado will be labeled under the law as a “persistent drunk driver” – a label that carries considerable consequences in Colorado. For instance, these drivers will not only lose their licenses for one year in Colorado, but if they want to receive a restricted license prior to serving the full one-year suspension, they will have to install ignition interlock devices (IID) on their cars – which are machines that require drivers to provide alcohol-free breath samples before their cars will start. Furthermore, drivers who refuse alcohol testing under the new laws will have to wait at least two months into their suspension period before they will even be afforded the opportunity to obtain an interlock-restricted license.

Under current Colorado law, persistent drunk drivers are classified as those with multiple alcohol-related driving violations or revocations, or those who drive with a blood-alcohol-concentration (BAC) of 0.17 percent (which is actually being lowered next year to 0.15 percent). Adding motorists who refuse alcohol testing to this category of drivers is particularly significant given that Colorado law already requires persistent drunk drivers to hold an interlock-restricted license for at least two years before they will be eligible for any other driver’s license – not to mention that they must complete an alcohol education and treatment program certified by the state.

Why are there penalties for refusing a Colorado breathalyzer?

Many drivers may actually wonder why they can face such severe penalties for simply not agreeing to provide incriminating evidence to the police that can be used against them. Well, the answer lies in Colorado’s expressed consent law.

Essentially, the expressed consent law in Colorado states that a driver is “deemed to have expressed such person’s consent” to alcohol testing merely by operating a motor vehicle on Colorado roadways. Thus, subsequently refusing to such testing can be punishable under the law.

Help is available if facing Colorado DUI charges

Ultimately, the laws in Colorado regarding alcohol testing can be quite complex, especially with the law changes that are about to go into effect. Accordingly, if you are arrested for DUI in Colorado, it is best to seek the counsel of an experienced DUI defense attorney. A skilled attorney can review the circumstances of your arrest and help determine what your rights and options may be given your situation.