In Colorado, if you refuse (or decline) to perform what the police officer will often times refer to as “Voluntary Roadside Maneuvers”, your refusal to complete these maneuvers may be admitted as evidence against you at trial. This seems to contradict the “voluntariness” of the tests, however, that’s the way it is in Colorado. Diligent defense counsel can and should bring this fact forward to the jury’s attention. After all, it seems fundamentally unfair that the absence of a “voluntary” act could be used against a driver as evidence of intoxication later in court.
Similarly, a driver’s refusal to complete a chemical test of his blood, breath, saliva, and urine can also be used against the driver at trial as evidence of impairment or intoxication. However, if there is a reasonable explanation for the absence of the chemical test, the absence of this evidence can prove favorable, or even very favorable, for the defense in establishing reasonable doubt of impairment or intoxication. In a DUI or DWAI prosecution, a chemical test is a substantial piece of evidence, especially if the test is conducted properly in accordance with the Colorado Department of Health Rules and Regulations for Testing. It is even more substantial if its result is .08 or greater in a DUI prosecution or .05 or higher in a DWAI prosecution.
On the other hand, a refusal to perform a portable breath test cannot be used as evidence against a driver at trial. There should be no mention of either the results of a portable breath test (PBT) or a refusal to complete a PBT in a DUI or DWAI trial.
The driver’s license consequences for a “refusal” to complete a chemical test are severe. These consequences are explained in the section-above entitled: What happens to my driver’s license if I refused a test of my blood, breath, saliva, or urine?
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI or DWAI in Colorado, it is important to retain defense counsel experienced in DUI and DWAI cases. Contact Attorney Monte Robbins at 303-355-5148, 970-301-5541, or 1-888-384-2656 today for a free case evaluation.