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Boulder Legal Issues Blog

Can I refuse a breath or blood test in Colorado?

Question: If a police officer pulls me over and suspects that I am driving while impaired or intoxicated by alcohol, marijuana, or another drug, can I just refuse to take a breath or blood test? What happens if I refuse? 

3 common questions about financial aid and drug convictions

There are serious legal consequences to getting caught with drugs. In addition, a drug-related criminal conviction could limit your eligibility for federal financial aid. Depending on your financial situation, this could mean that you might end up having to take out expensive student loans or take time off from school until you meet the requirements to reapply for financial aid in the future.

However, if you have a past conviction, you should not assume that you cannot receive federal financial aid -- you should either look into your options yourself, or retain an experienced attorney to evaluate your eligibility to receive financial aid. While your criminal case is pending, you should ask your attorney to advise you regarding the impact of your various options on your current and future eligibility for federal financial aid. 

3 myths about minor in possession tickets

Receiving a minor in possession ticket can be scary, especially if this is your first time getting into trouble with the law. You most likely know a friend -- or even several friends -- who have been in a seemingly similar boat. However, do not assume their situation is the same as yours. While it is true that plenty of college students wind up with minor in possession, or MIP tickets, not all cases are the same.

In this blog post, we are going to look at some of the bigger myths when it comes to MIP tickets in Boulder.

Stress turns some college students to study drugs

There is a lot riding on getting good grades in college. Add to this the sheer workload of having multiple classes -- with mandatory papers, projects and tests -- and it's no wonder so many college students are completely stressed out. Walk around a campus and you can feel the stress, as students rush from class to class to class, just trying to get it all done, just trying to stay on top of everything at once.

Grades matter too. No one wants to get an F on a paper or completely fail a test. Not only is there the embarrassment and frustration that comes with poor grades, there is also the risk of not earning credits -- and if grades hit a certain low point -- being put on academic suspension. Students with scholarships often have the added stress of also needing to keep a certain grade point average.

Worried about distracted drivers? You should be.

Reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road has been a multi-faceted approach. There are campaigns aimed to educate drivers and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving who work to educate, while also pushing for stricter drunk driver-related policies. Add to this the steep penalties a driver faces for drunk driving and guess what? The pressure works. The number of fatalities involving drunk drivers has decreased over the years.

But now there is a new danger on the roads: distracted driving. And the problem here is that while there are campaigns aimed at getting people to put down their phones and pay attention -- these campaigns are still new. And while there are laws and very real consequences in place, like Colorado's texting while driving laws, the penalties are still not as severe for distracted drivers as drunk drivers. The pressure to put down the phone is simply not strong enough for many.

What can we do to prevent fatal accidents?

While cities like Denver and Boulder have adopted action plans with the goal of reducing the number of traffic fatalities to zero, the number of people actually killed in car accidents in Colorado saw an increase in 2017. Naturally, this is leading some to question just how well these plans are working.

More than 33 U.S. jurisdictions have adopted the Vision Zero initiative. This initiative it based on the idea that accidents are completely preventable and that by implementing specific strategies -- such as enforcement and safe street design -- that one day there would not be any traffic fatalities in cities like Boulder and Colorado. However, as The Washington Post article points out, some are becoming quite skeptical of the initiative, especially since traffic fatality numbers are continuing to sore.

Review: Alcotest 9510 source code flawed, challenged in courts

The Alcotest 9510, a breath testing machine used by numerous police agencies, has been challenged in court in several states. Now, a report from two software engineering consultants who reviewed its source code has been distributed. That report is no longer available for intellectual property reasons, but the consultants expressed serious concerns about the reliability of the test results.

In 2008, the New Jersey Supreme Court tested an Alcotest breath machine using the same underlying code. Although the court found it "generally scientifically reliable," it ordered law enforcement to make some critical changes to the configuration. Although defense attorneys contend that the changes were never made, the court reaffirmed five years later that the machine was reliable and its results were admissible in court.

3 things to know about underage drinking and driving in Colorado

In Colorado, the legal driving limit for Driving Under the Influence is 0.08. This means that if your blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher -- and you are pulled over by police -- you will most likely end up being arrested and ticketed for driving under the influence. If you are stopped and have a blood alcohol content of 0.05 to 0.079, you will likely be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired. However, if you are under the age of 21, even a much lower blood alcohol content will result in a criminal charge.

Dog bites carry serious risk of infection

Dogs are wonderful. They can be affectionate and playful and can quickly become a member of the family. However, it is important to remember that dogs are still very much animals and can react to stimuli in unpredictable ways. When scared or in protection-mode, for example, a normally friendly dog can bite.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 4.5 million dog bites per year. In looking at who is most likely to be bit -- while it can certainly happen to anyone -- children and men are most at risk.

What happens after a loud party is shut down?

Parties can quickly get out of hand. As more and more people show up, the crowd starts to swell. As more people talk, the music gets louder. As more drinks are poured, competing to be heard, voices grow louder and louder. Suddenly, the police are there, asking for the person in charge.

If you were the person -- or one of the people -- responsible for throwing the party, it is not surprising that you are also the now the one having to deal with the criminal charge or charges. While many of the partygoers just went home for the night, you may be the one left to pick up the legal pieces.

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