Early on Tuesday morning, a motorcyclist crashed after hitting a median. The police investigated the accident as a possible DUI. The motorcyclist was thrown from the motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet. He was transported to Swedish hospital. Police said the motorcyclist’s blood would be drawn at the hospital.
Information is limited as to what led police to believe the motorcyclist committed a DUI. While the accident sounds serious, an accident alone is not sufficient. The amount of evidence the police had at the time of the investigation is important because police must have probable cause to believe a DUI has been committed before requesting a blood or breath test.
Generally, in Colorado, if the police have probable cause to believe a person has committed a DUI, the police must give the person a choice of a blood or breath test. This law is called the “express consent” law. It is called the express consent law because by driving on the streets of Colorado, every driver has given his or her express consent to submit to a blood or breath test when an officer has probable cause to believe he or she has committed a DUI. Once a person chooses a test, then the police must honor that choice of test.
There are a few exceptions to the general rule that the suspected DUI driver has a choice between a blood or breath test. For example, if a person is suspected of a DUI involving drugs, then the officer may require a blood test. Another example is the one likely applicable to the motorcyclist’s case. If a person is transported to the hospital, then a blood test may be required.
To date, the motorcyclist has not been charged with a DUI. The officers may be waiting for the blood test results, but more likely are waiting for the motorcyclist to recover before charging him with anything. If the officers have sufficient evidence, the officers may charge him with DUI before receiving the blood test results.