How Does “Express Consent” Work in Colorado?

Colorado requires operators of motor vehicles to submit to chemical testing for alcohol if a police officer requests such a test based on probable cause that the driver is driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI). This law is called “express consent” as drivers have expressly consented to such test simply because they are operating a motor vehicle in Colorado. The exact wording of the express consent law is laid out in Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) § 42-4-1301.1. Plugging this citation into a search engine will pull the statute up for review.

A chemical test is normally taken of the driver’s blood or breath which results in a
blood alcohol content (BAC). BAC is usually determined by testing either a blood or a breath sample taken from the driver. A BAC of 0.08 or higher is considered a “per se” violation of Colorado’s DUI laws, while a BAC between 0.05 and 0.079 is evidence that the driver was DWAI. BAC readings, however, can be challenged in court and in administrative hearings.

A driver has the right to choose whether a blood or breath test is performed. There are a few exceptions to this general rule. If the driver refuses the test, his or her license is revoked – even if the driver is later found not to have committed any crime. You have the right to request and attend a hearing before the Department of Revenue to argue for the return of your license. Drivers may be represented by an attorney at the hearing, who will represent you and put forward your defenses.

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