How DUI Arrests Typically Unfold in Colorado


Greeley has many bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues that serve alcohol. If you want to leave town and head to Fort Collins, Boulder, or Denver, you can find thousands of places to enjoy a cocktail, pint of beer, or glass of wine. You must be careful not to drive if your blood alcohol concentration is above Colorado’s 0.08% legal limit, though.

If an officer has ever pulled over your vehicle for any reason, you realize how stressful a stop can be. For moving violations, you may have to pay a potentially costly ticket. If an officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol, though, your traffic stop may quickly turn into a nightmare. That is, your stop may lead to an arrest. Here are how DUI arrests typically unfold in Colorado:

1. Reasonable suspicion 

For an officer to stop your vehicle, he or she must have reasonable suspicion that you are violating a law. This violation may be for something minor, such as failing to signal, or major, like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An officer should only detain you long enough to either confirm or dispel his or her suspicion, though.

2. License and registration 

At any traffic stop, you must provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration. You do not have a legal requirement, however, to voluntarily answer an officer’s questions. On the contrary, providing limited information is often an effective way to avoid incriminating yourself.

3. Field-sobriety testing 

Officers use field-sobriety testing to gather evidence about your level of intoxication. While an officer may not inform you of such, these tests are voluntary. That is, there are no legal penalties for refusing a test. If an officer has another probable cause to believe you are drunk, he or she may arrest you.

4. Chemical testing 

While field-sobriety tests are voluntary, chemical testing is not. If an officer thinks your BAC is above the legal limit, he or she is likely to ask you to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test. Refusing to provide a sample has some consequences. That is, when you drive on Colorado’s roads, you give implied consent to chemical testing. If you refuse, you are apt to face a suspension of your driving privileges.

5. Impounding 

If an officer arrests you on suspicion of DUI, you may not have a sober licensed passenger. Still, officers do not want your car sitting beside the road. Accordingly, they may impound your vehicle, passing towing and other costs onto you.

6. Jail 

Following your arrest, officers are likely to fingerprint and photograph you when creating an arrest record. They will probably also hold you until you sober up. If your arrest has aggravating factors, such as resisting arrest or causing an injury, you may also have to post bond before leaving jail.

If you never drive drunk, you probably do not have to worry about what happens during a DUI arrest. Nevertheless, because life has a way of interfering with well-intentioned plans, understanding the mechanics of a drunk driving stop may help you stay out of trouble.