DUI Law – Driving Under the Influence

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Timothy Bussey tried cases as a Deputy District Attorney for El Paso and Teller counties until forming his own practice, The Bussey Law Firm.

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs can be a confusing and intimidating experience, especially if you are unaware of the laws and procedures related to DUI. Although each state may have specific laws related to the arrest process and prosecution of DUI crimes, there are basic laws that everyone should be aware of in order to protect their rights during a DUI stop, arrest, or even prosecution.

When Can You Be Stopped for DUI?

There are two main circumstances when a driver may be stopped for DUI: At a DUI Checkpoint, also referred to as a Sobriety Checkpoint, and after committing a traffic violation. Typically, unless there is a DUI Checkpoint set-up, a law enforcement officer may not pull random drivers over to check for signs of intoxication or being under the influence of drugs, unless the driver has committed a traffic violation.

Once You’ve Been Stopped for DUI

Once a driver has been pulled over, or stopped at a DUI Checkpoint, a law enforcement officer will look for signs of intoxication or the influence of drugs. They may ask direct or indirect questions, all the while noting the driver’s physical appearance, speech patterns, mannerisms, and even the smell of alcohol on the breath or in the vehicle. This observation is required in order to make a DUI arrest in most states to establish probable cause for a DUI areest.

Field Sobriety Testing

While stopped, a police officer may also ask a driver to perform field sobriety tests in order to assess their level of impairment. It is important to understand that these tests are not required and that a driver may refuse to do them. The police officer will likely mention that refusing to do them would make it easier to convict you, but this is untrue. An experienced criminal defense attorney is well aware of the unreliability of these tests and would be able to refute evidence to the contrary.

Implied Consent Law

In addition to the field sobriety tests, a law enforcement officer may ask a driver to submit to a breathalyzer test or other chemical test to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Usually, refusing this test can result in the revocation of your driver’s license under the state’s Express Consent Law. This law states that if you hold a driver’s license, you have agreed to take a chemical test to determine BAC.

Be Aware of Penalties

Once you’ve been arrested, it is important to understand that the penalties you face if convicted may be severe. While a first DUI offense would carry lesser punishment, subsequent DUI charges, as well as DUI causing injury or death charges, can have a significant impact on your personal freedom and financial security. Not to mention you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car, or even have your license suspended for years.

If You’ve Been Arrested for DUI

These are not penalties you should take lightly. Your best chance at avoiding excessive punishment or an unfair conviction is to hire aggressive legal representation. If you have been charged with drunk driving in Colorado, Colorado Springs DUI attorney Timothy R. Bussey, founder of The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., can help you protect your rights against unjust prosecution. To learn more, call (719) 475-2555 for a free consultation.