If you’re ever in a position where you might be charged with a crime, you should cooperate with the police so that they don’t make notations that you’re difficult to work with. But cooperation does not mean answering questions, admitting to wrongdoing, or giving evidence to the police.
In this country, we have highly trained law enforcement personnel, and they know what they need to do to investigate your case. They know what they need to do to get evidence to prosecute your case.
If you’re pulled over for suspicion of DUI by the police, give them your license, registration, and insurance information, but don’t answer any questions. If an officer says, “I smell the odor of alcohol. Have you been drinking?” do not offer an answer to that question. Simply say, “Officer, I’m here to cooperate, what can I do for you?”
Do not do roadside sobriety tests (where the officer asks you to stand on one leg or recite the alphabet and looks in your eyes). Under Colorado law, you are not required to do roadside sobriety tests. If the officer arrests you, you are then required to do a breath test or a blood test to determine whether the amount of alcohol in your blood is at a level that causes you to be impaired or under the influence. In Colorado that could be as low as .05. You must submit a blood or breath test only after you have been arrested.
If the officer offers you a roadside breath test, you can refuse that. However, do not refuse a breath or blood test after you’re arrested: under Colorado law, denying a test result in an automatic suspension of your license for one year.
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence or driving while impaired in Fort Collins, Loveland, or anywhere in Colorado, you will have driver’s license consequences. You may need to request a Department of Motor Vehicle hearing. You have only seven days to make that request. The DMV process is confusing, it is recommended that you contact an experienced attorney to help you with this process.
As with any crime, you do not have to answer questions from the police or the investigator. If you’re arrested, you should politely tell the officer, “I do not wish to answer any questions until I have had time to consult with an attorney.”
Once you’re arrested and charged with a crime, whether it’s a DUI, misdemeanor, or felony, you have the right after you’re booked to contact someone, whether it’s an attorney or a family member. You have the right to have bail posted so you can get out of jail, and you have the right to remain silent.
Most people get themselves in trouble when they feel like they have to talk. Sometimes, you can feel that you’re not talking about your crime, but anything you say can be used against you in court. It’s best to only answer questions related to your identity, your place of employment, your home, or your family and attorney. Do not answer any questions that relate to the incident that is being investigated.