It happens all the time in Denver. You stop to have a quick happy hour cocktail with co-workers on the way home from work. You’re invited to a big party and your designated driver disappears when you need him for a ride home. You decide to make a quick trip to the store so you can keep “socializing” with your neighbors.
There are so many ways you can make an error in judgment when it comes to getting behind the wheel after you’ve had too much to drink or smoke.
In Colorado, a person is considered to have had too much to drink and drive safely if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is .05 or higher. And even though marijuana has been legalized, you can still be popped for driving under the influence of THC if you have 5ng or more of THC in your system.
Unfortunately, law enforcement officials are extremely aggressive when it comes to prosecuting DUI and DWI cases. That means even minor charges can mean big problems in your life. You can face fines, jail time, a suspension or revocation of your license and other possible penalties if you are convicted.
The good news is that the margin of error that allows false DUI and DWI charges to occur still remains. No test is infallible. That includes roadside testing, blood testing and breath testing. And that can form a powerful legal defense if you are arrested for one of these crimes. Until these margins are reduced or eliminated, you do stand a chance in some cases of having your case dismissed.
Many people who are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving are threatened with license suspension if they refuse the chemical testing of their blood or breath. This threat is a tactic used to pressure people into taking voluntary roadside tests, and it is coupled with many drivers who have a compulsion to cooperate with law enforcement in an attempt to be as cooperative as possible. What drivers need to know is that you must follow orders given by a peace officer, but you do not have to agree to voluntary requests, and a roadside test is voluntary which you can legally refuse.
Tests like these are rarely in a person’s best interests. In fact, in some cases, even sober people may not be able to pass these tests due to equipment malfunctions, improper calibrations, physical conditions that impact a person’s balance, or an incorrectly administered test. In short, at Decker & Jones, we know these tests are designed for a person to fail.
The refusal of a roadside test is not the same as the refusal of the express consent tests that can result in suspension of your driver’s license. If you are the subject of a DUI /DWI stop or investigation, be aware of the following points so that you can protect yourself from legal trouble:
The bottom line is that you do not have to help officers make a case against you. The best way to do this is to be armed with the facts before you are pulled over. However, if you have already been pulled over and charged with a DUI/DWI, there are still plenty of steps you can take to help yourself and protect your rights. The first and most important of these is to contact a knowledgeable attorney at Decker & Jones to make sure you do not make any mistakes that will ultimately work against you.
Many people have been falsely charged due to problems with the Intoxilyzer, which is notoriously susceptible to error. The Intoxilyzer estimates alcohol levels from a person’s breath, but it does not measure blood alcohol content. There can be many reasons for inaccuracies when an Intoxilyzer is used, including false positives which may be due to:
Blood alcohol tests can be inaccurate when proper testing procedures are not followed or if the analyst conducting the test has not been sufficiently trained.
Testing for marijuana is even more complex, as the level of impairment really cannot be determined simply by testing—numerous factors affect THC content in the blood, such as the user’s pattern of use, the amount consumed, and the way these and other factors affect the metabolites in the blood.
In addition to unreliable testing methods, agencies that provide testing are not always completely reliable or scrupulous. The Colorado State Toxicology lab, for example, has come under recent scrutiny for inadequate training of staff and the appearance of impropriety by a supervisor who openly “rooted” for prosecutors.
It takes a skilled lawyer to review the type of test you took as well as the results and work to find flaws in the test that can help your side of the story.
Plenty of good people can make a mistake that can impact their lives for a long time to come. Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana can be one of those events, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impact on your life and the lives of your family members.
There are numerous defenses that can be employed for DUI/DWI cases, but knowing how to proceed is critical so that you don’t make mistakes that could end up costing you dearly as your case progresses. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney representing you is one of the smartest moves you can make to protect yourself and maintain your freedom.
When you help with defense against a DUI or DWI charge, turn to Decker & Jones. At Decker & Jones, we have nearly 30 years of combined legal experience and have provided people with compassionate and comprehensive legal services as they fight these kinds of charges. We will thoroughly evaluate your case and provide you with the best possible legal options for your situation.
Contact us today at our Golden or Denver offices at 303.279.1586 or by filling out our online contact form for a free consultation to see how we can put our skills and experience to work for you.