Colorado Springs DUI Defense Lawyers
Drunk Driving Arrest
Police officers often receive training in how to perform an arrest on drivers they believe are driving drunk, whether it's driving while one's ability is impaired (DWAI) or driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The process of a DUI arrest is often based on the skills and information an officer learns or remembers from this training.
In order to arrest a driver for DUI in Colorado, an officer must have probable cause. Probable cause is more than a mere suspicion; it must be based on some kind of facts or evidence the officer observes that support the reasonable belief that the driver being arrested had violated one or more state drunk driving laws. Police begin collecting information to support probable cause from the moment their attention is first drawn to a driver's vehicle.
An officer might notice a particular car because it doesn't seem to be under control, because it has a broken part or expired plate, because is driver commits a moving violation like failing to signal or running a stop sign, because the vehicle is involved in an accident, or for any number of other reasons. Often, an officer who notices a particular vehicle will start to follow it in order to watch for more clues. Eventually, the officer has to decide whether to pull the vehicle over or to move on.
An officer who pulls a vehicle over is constantly looking for information that might reveal whether or not the driver is intoxicated. Slurred speech, a smell of alcohol, or open alcohol containers are well-known signs of intoxication, but officers may also attempt to see if the driver can perform divided attention tasks, which are tasks that require the driver to do two things at once. For example, while a driver is reaching for their license, the officer might ask where the driver is going. Officers are often taught that an inability to both answer a question and reach for a license indicate intoxication, since alcohol often reduces a person's ability to think about two things at once.
During a stop, an officer might ask a driver to get out of the car and perform one or more field sobriety tests (FSTs), which are used to test divided attention as well as balance and other skills. Although most officers use field sobriety test performance to support a suspicion of drunk driving, the fact is that field sobriety tests are notoriously difficult to perform correctly, and that the average person can fail them even if they are sober.
An officer may also require a driver to take a preliminary breath test to check the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Colorado is a "presumed consent" state, which means that a driver faces automatic administrative penalties if they refuse to take a chemical test. The results of a breath test are often used in court, even if the breath testing machine is not correctly maintained correctly or the officer does not perform the test properly.
When an arrest for DUI or DWAI occurs, the driver may be taken to jail until they can be taken to see a judge. The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles is also informed of the arrest, and the offender's driver's license is usually suspended. The driver may have to pay a fee and provide proof of insurance coverage before they can get their license back, even if the driver is never actually convicted of drunk driving.
The drunk driving arrest is often the event from which all the evidence used to convict a driver of DUI is taken. Therefore, contacting an experienced attorney is invaluable in helping any driver build an aggressive defense against DUI or DWAI charges. Attorney Timothy Bussey has experience defending people charged with drunk driving, and he fights to protect each client's rights while also seeking the best possible outcome in each case. To learn how Mr. Bussey may be able to help you, call The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. today for a free consultation.