State Supreme Court Strengthens DUI Jurisprudence

By: - March 24, 2017

Colorado DUI accidents often cause more damage then other auto wrecks because the intoxicated driver may be speeding and more unaware of his or her surroundings. As a result, both judges and lawmakers here in Colorado have noted that driving is a statutory privilege and not a right to denote how serious they are about the penalties involved in drunk driving and how permissive testing can be. In three separate Court decisions delivered recently, the state supreme court strengthened the jurisprudence regarding both expressed consent as well as the ability for law enforcement to take blood in order to perform alcohol testing on drivers suspected of driving under the influence.

Expressed Consent in DUI Testing
This is particularly important here in Colorado because of the expressed consent legal framework. What this means is that anyone who obtains a Colorado driver's license has already expressed consent that they are willing to submit to a blood or urine test on suspicion of drunk driving by law enforcement officer. In the three cases decided by the state supreme court, several questions arose.

  1. If a law enforcement officer informs a motorist of the express consent doctrine, is the test still valid? The court said yes, noting that it buttresses the very foundation of the rule.
  2. With probable cause, can an officer submit an alleged drunk driver for blood testing even if they are unconscious? The court also affirmed, noting that the driver's consent by obtaining a license still holds.
  3. Most importantly, can a driver's refusal to take a blood or breath test be used against them in a criminal case? The judges held that yes, it can be used. Since the law provides that when probable cause is established by police, blood or urine tests are required, then the refusal constitutes an element of the case against the motorist by failing to comply with the law.

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Why Criminal Matters Affect Civil Cases
If you've been injured in a Colorado DUI crash, your injuries and loss of quality of life can be severe. In the case of other collisions, personal injury lawyers try to take advantages of experts and witnesses in order to reconstruct what happened at the time of the crash. However, once law enforcement becomes involved it is more likely to improve one's case. Juries and judges place weight on the testimony of law enforcement officials who can reconstruct the accident or can speak to the intoxication of the motorist allegedly at fault.

Getting Help with Your Colorado Car Accident Case
If you've been in an accident with a drunk driver, your injuries could be significant. Medical bills might pile up and lost income could make bills tough to pay. Learn more about your legal rights: Get a free consultation with an Anderson Hemmat & McQuinn accident attorney today.

Call 303-782-9999 or use the easy case evaluation form to your right for a confidential review of the facts of your potential case. We look forward to helping you get the best possible outcome.

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