Colorado DUI Law Would Take Care of Loophole in State's Express Consent Law
By: Chris Kramer
A previous story detailed a man who suppressed his breathalyzer results when authorities could not meet his request for a blood test within an allocated time period. With that said, a proposed Colorado DUI law would close the loophole in the state's express consent law which certainly aided this man and ultimately give the state more flexibility to gather evidence from drunken driving suspects.
Under the current express consent DUI law in Colorado, a DUI suspect can choose either a blood test or a breathalyzer test. If the chosen test is not administered within two hours after the arrest, the state does not have enough evidence for a DUI conviction.
This loophole was especially apparent in the aforementioned case involving Glenn Turbyne, who was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving in April 2005. Rather than agreeing to a breathalyzer test, Turbyne asked for a blood test, which was not attained within the two hour time limit due to inclement weather and a heavy workload for paramedics.
What made this case even more interesting is that Turbyne later agreed to a breathalyzer test after the arresting officer told him that he could lose his driver's license upon refusing the breath test. Turbyne flunked the breathalyzer test, registering a blood alcohol content (BAC) level that was nearly two times the legal 0.08 percent limit as stipulated in the DUI laws in Colorado.
Turbyne's Colorado DUI lawyer then argued that the BAC result should not be submitted as evidence since it was coerced out his client. The Colorado Supreme Court agreed, saying that the BAC result could not be submitted as evidence because the officer had inadvertently threatened Turbyne by warning him about possibly having his license revoked. Turbyne was thus able to escape his Colorado DUI charges.
Proposed Colorado DUI Law Would Seek Different Results in Similar Cases!
With similar cases in mind, Representative Jim Riesberg said in a cbs4denver.com story that this proposed Colorado DUI law would close the loophole allowing drunk drivers to escape justice. He added how this proposed Colorado DUI law strives to reduce repeat offenders and give law enforcement more ability to take these cases to court.
So what would this proposed DUI law in Colorado do to better achieve these goals? Specifically, this DUI law in Colorado would still give the driver the choice of either a blood or breathalyzer test. However, if the preferred test can not be administered due to unforeseen circumstances, this proposed Colorado DUI law would now give authorities the right to administer the other test.
In relation to the Turbyne case, this proposed Colorado DUI law would have required this suspect to submit a breath test once the blood test could not be administered within the two hour time period due to the inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances (assuming of course, that Turbyne was not inadvertently convinced to submit the breath test to begin with).
Stay Updated on the Latest Developments with this Proposed Colorado DUI Law!
This proposed Colorado DUI law, Senate Bill 154, passed the House on a 51-14 vote on March 28 th. It is now awaiting a signature from Colorado Governor Bill Ritter.