Colorado Supreme Court Throws Out DUI Conviction After Authorities Couldn’t Comply With Suspected DUI Driver’s Request for Blood Test

By Mary Ann

The Colorado Supreme Court threw out a Glenwood Springs, Colorado driver’s DUI conviction saying that state law doesn’t adequately cover cases where a driver’s choice of BAC test is unavailable. The driver was arrested in Aurora, Colorado for suspicion of DUI. Under Colorado’s express-consent law, he asked to be given a blood test rather than a breath test. No qualified person was available to draw blood within the two hour limit specified by Colorado DUI law. A sheriff’s deputy told the driver he could lose his license for a year if he refused to take a breath test. He submitted and the breathalyzer indicated a BAC of over twice the legal limit for DUI in Colorado.

The Supreme Court upheld the charge of DUI but said the results of the breath test had to be thrown out because the deputy had inappropriately threatened the driver with loss of his license. The ruling did give prosecutors the opportunity to refile DUI charges based on other evidence.

While a BAC of at least 0.08 percent is presumptive evidence of drunk driving, neither a breath test nor a blood test is necessary to convict a driver of DUI.