If a police officer has probable cause to arrest for you driving under the influence of alcohol, he or she will ask you to take a blood alcohol test. You might consider refusing if you believe you will fail.
In Colorado, anyone who operates a vehicle on the roadway has given their express consent to a chemical test if an officer arrests them for driving under the influence. You should understand the potential consequences before you turn down a test.
What is the difference between a pre-arrest and post-arrest test?
If an officer asks you to take a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, prior to an arrest, you may refuse without any penalties if you are over the age of 21.
Even if you do not consent, an officer may still arrest you if there is probable cause to indicate you are operating a vehicle under the influence. After your arrest, you must submit to a blood alcohol test or face serious repercussions.
What are the consequences of refusal?
Refusing a test will cause you to lose your license for one year, and subsequent refusals can lead to longer suspensions. Colorado will designate you as a persistent drunk driver and require that you participate in an alcohol and drug treatment program, install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle and obtain SR-22 insurance before restoring your driving privileges.
The penalties for refusal are often worse than failing. You should seriously consider the implications before you turn down a blood alcohol test.