An interesting question came before the U.S. Supreme Court recently. In Stuart v. Alabama, a woman was charged with DUI and criminally negligent homicide for rear-ending another driver's car, causing it to strike a tree and kill the driver. Prosecutors submitted a lab report to prove the woman was under the influence of alcohol, but they did not ask the scientist who performed the tests to testify. Under the Sixth Amendment, however, criminal defendants have the right to confront all of the prosecution's witnesses.
Colorado's express consent law provides that drivers, by virtue of driving on state roadways, have already consented to take a breath or blood test when an officer has probable cause to believe the person is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Refusal to take the test results in a revocation of the driver's license. Moreover, blood tests can be performed on people who are unconscious.
Colorado drivers may now have more reasons to be concerned while on the roads. A recent study shows that the legalization of recreational marijuana may be contributing to a rise in car crashes in the state. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute both conducted studies in states that legalized recreational marijuana, including Colorado. Here is what they found:
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado and several other western states, has ruled against a woman who was sober when she was arrested for DUI in Utah. She contended that, without a breathalyzer or blood-alcohol test showing she was under the influence, the state had insufficient evidence to charge her with DUI. Nevertheless, she was forced to defend herself from DUI charges for two-and-a-half months even though her blood-alcohol test would ultimately show a 0.01.
If you are facing a DUI investigation or charge, you may feel that you already know the basics of what's at stake: in Colorado, DUIs are often misdemeanors, meaning a conviction may mean you must pay a fine, lose your license for a time, and complete court-ordered probation. However, if a DUI is prosecuted as a felony, the consequences can be much greater.
Yes, it's possible. Under Colorado law, DUI can be established by showing that an intoxicated person was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, even if the car wasn't in drive or moving. Whether you could be convicted depends on the particular circumstances of your case.
If you live in Colorado, you've probably heard that driving while impaired by marijuana is illegal. Unfortunately, with an increasing number of states legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medical purposes, the incidence of drugged driving appears to be on the rise.
Car accidents happen for any number of reasons. When they are particularly spectacular, it can be easy to assume that intoxication was the cause, perhaps because many shocking DUI accidents have been reported on the news. The mere fact of an accident, however, does not imply the driver was drunk.
A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that we are seeing a lot more drugged driving. That may not come as a surprise, as the use of both cannabis and opioids has been on the rise. What should law enforcement and policy groups do?
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?