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Why You Should Not Give a Breathalyzer During a DUI Pullover

Why You Should Not Give a Breathalyzer During a DUI Pullover

By on Mar 3, 2020 in Blog, Boulder Colorado Law Advice Blogs, DUI Blogs |

As soon as you’re pulled over after drinking, start preparing for how you will respond to the officer. Anything you say or do can be added to the officer’s report about the incident and used against you. Hiring a DUI attorney should be at the top of your list once you’re able, but you won’t have the guidance of a lawyer when you’re still on the side of the road.

First of All, Know Your Rights

A lot of people don’t fully understand their rights during a pullover. It’s easy to get nervous as soon as you see the flashing lights behind you and do whatever the officer says. However, you do have rights and can refuse to comply with certain requests in the moment.

You Can Refuse a Field Sobriety Test

If the officer who pulled you over suspects you are intoxicated, they will likely request a sobriety test. Most people are likely to comply with this because they don’t think they have a choice – but that’s not true. Just as you can refuse to let the officer inspect the inside of your car, you can refuse to take a sobriety test or disclose any information that may incriminate you later on.

You Don’t Have the Right to an Attorney Before Taking a Sobriety Test

At the same time, you don’t have the right to an attorney before taking a sobriety test, even if you do not take the test on the side of the road. Once you are taken to the police station, you will have to choose a sobriety test to take before you’re able to call a DUI lawyer. Furthermore, refusing to take a formal sobriety test before getting an attorney will likely result in revocation of your driver’s license, so it’s in your best interest to go ahead and take some sort of sobriety test.

A Field Sobriety Test is Different from a Formal Breathalyzer Test

Not all breathalyzer tests are made the same. Knowing the difference in advance can help you down the road once you are building your DUI defense with a criminal lawyer. While making the wrong choice won’t necessarily ruin your case, making the right choice can potentially help your case a lot.

image of traffic cones and sobriety checkpoint sign on road with traffic

What is a Field Alcohol Screening Test?

Roadside breathalyzers, or Preliminary Alcohol Screening tests (PASs), are administered during a pullover and can be refused. Field breathalyzer tests will look similar to an inhaler and are often unreliable because their results can be skewed. Because of this it’s in your best interest to refuse a roadside breathalyzer test and instead wait until you get to the police station where you can take a more formal sobriety test with more concrete results.

What is a Formal Sobriety Test?

If you refuse a roadside sobriety test, you will have to take a formal sobriety test at the police station. This is your most accurate option and, especially if you have had a couple drinks that night, are likely your best option. A formal sobriety test can either be a formal breath test or a blood test, depending on which you choose.

Choosing Between a Blood Test or a Breath Test

A formal sobriety test is in your best interest if you’ve been pulled over for a DUI. But should you get a blood test or a formal breath test? Both can be good options depending on your situation and under certain circumstances the officer may require that both a blood and urine test are done. Many DUI lawyers also suggest you take a breath test because they can be more effectively attacked in court. However, if you have a choice upon arriving at the police station, take into account the full situation.

Think About What Else Might be in Your System

When you have the choice, think back to what else may be in your system before you choose a blood test over a formal breath test. If the results may come back showing drugs, that could also be used against you in addition to any alcohol in your system.

Pulled Over for a DUI? Call Phil Clark Law

When you’ve been pulled over for a DUI, your best defense is getting an experienced Colorado DUI lawyer like Phil Clark. He knows the ins and outs of Colorado law and can build a solid DUI defense to use in court and limit your legal repercussions.

Phil Clark has practiced criminal law for over 25 years, first as a prosecutor for the Denver District Attorney’s Office and now as a criminal defense attorney in Boulder. Having criminal charges on your permanent record can have a huge impact on your future. A criminal attorney can help keep your record clean and save a lot of trouble caused by charges such as a DUI, assault, or domestic violence.

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