It was a great day on the snow with friends and you had a couple of beers or some marijuana to celebrate how you all crushed it up on the slopes. It’s now dark and you are heading home. Unfortunately, you didn’t notice that broken taillight as you loaded your gear, but the police did.
Colorado drivers may feel like they are guilty as soon as they see the red flashing lights in their rear view mirror. This may particularly be true if the driver has had a drink or two or enjoyed some marijuana with friends earlier in the day. The key, however, is to remember that drivers are innocent until proven guilty. While a great day has turned into a not-so-great night, there was no accident or injury and you have not been previously convicted of a DUI or the lesser DWAI (driving while ability impaired). These factors work in your favor, but there are some other things you can do to help yourself as well.
Be polite to the officer and answer their specific questions. Produce your license and insurance without any resistance. Do not volunteer any information besides answering the question, and be mindful that the officer is waiting to see if you incriminate yourself. Evidence gained before, during and after your stop can be used against you by prosecutors. Don’t admit anything even if you failed a sobriety test.
Every driver has the right to refuse the breathalyzer test before they are arrested, but Colorado is an implied consent state. This means that you consent to take a field sobriety test once you get behind the wheel. Refusing to take the test leads to severe penalties and you can still be convicted in court simply because you refused to take the test. You will be required to take the test anyway if you are arrested.
Stay on top of your case. The first thing to do is hire an attorney skilled in the area of DUI/DWAI defense. They will be great help for any driver going through this process. While there is a small chance that charges will get dismissed, it’s more likely that the sentence can get reduced, which may mean suspended jail time, a lower fine, maintaining driving privileges, or reducing the length of community service. If you, a friend or perhaps a college-age child has been pulled over on suspicion of DUI/DWAI, the key is finding a good attorney because there is no need to follow one bad decision with another.