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Colorado Politician Shows What NOT to Do When Pulled Over

In politics, where decisions shape the lives of many, the irony often comes full circle. Colorado Representative Dan Pabon found himself trapped in the threads of irony when he, a staunch advocate for stricter penalties against drunk driving, was arrested for driving under the influence on St. Patrick’s Day in 2016. The legislator, who had championed the cause for harsher consequences, would now have to face the very laws he helped put into place.

The incident, captured on a police officer’s body camera, unfolded as the officer confronted Pabon about his alcohol consumption. Admitting to having “a drink or two” of beer, Pabon initially declined roadside tests and disclosed his identity as a state representative. 

Unimpressed, the officer persisted, and Pabon eventually consented to voluntary roadside tests, revealing signs of impairment. A subsequent breathalyzer test indicated a blood alcohol level of .14, nearly twice the legal limit, leading to his arrest.

The die was cast despite Pabon’s offers to take an Uber or have his wife pick him up. He even sought preferential treatment in the aftermath, asking the officer to contact his supervisor or the city’s attorney. However, justice prevailed, and Pabon, recognizing the gravity of his actions, remarked, “This is going to change my life now.”

In a twist of fate, Pabon, who had played a key role in instituting stricter penalties, pleaded guilty to drunk driving. His sentence included a year of probation, community service, court costs, monitored sobriety, alcohol education, and participation in the very victim-impact panel he helped establish.

This saga is a cautionary tale, highlighting what not to do when pulled over for a DUI in Colorado. The officer’s video of the arrest provides a glimpse into the procedures one can expect during such a traffic stop. Here are two crucial takeaways for anyone facing a similar situation:

  1. Roadside tests and Preliminary Breath Tests (PBT) are voluntary: Drivers can refuse these tests without facing additional penalties such as license suspension. However, it is vital to distinguish between roadside breath tests and the Intoxilyzer (breathalyzer) test administered at the station or in a police van. Refusing the latter may result in a suspended driver’s license.
  2. Be respectful and cooperative: Respecting the officer’s authority and complying with instructions is crucial. Disputing an arrest can be done later in court with legal representation, but arguing or attempting to use one’s status to avoid arrest is unlikely beneficial.

In the aftermath of a recent incident involving a Colorado politician being pulled over, the individual’s actions serve as a stark illustration of what not to do in such situations. The incident underscores the importance of cooperation and respect when interacting with law enforcement. Demonstrating a lack of adherence to these principles can exacerbate a routine traffic stop and lead to legal consequences and public scrutiny. Individuals, particularly those in positions of influence, must strive to set an example for responsible behavior. In upholding the principles of law and order, it is crucial to emphasize the need for respectful interactions between citizens and law enforcement. Instances such as these highlight the significance of public figures like Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, who, through their legal expertise, contribute to fostering a culture of compliance and cooperation, ultimately reinforcing the foundations of a just and orderly society.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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