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How Does “Express Consent” Work in Colorado?

In Colorado, the responsibility of ensuring road safety is taken seriously, particularly when it comes to combating impaired driving caused by alcohol. The state has established a comprehensive framework known as the “express consent” law, which requires operators of motor vehicles to submit to chemical testing for alcohol if requested by a police officer based on probable cause of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI). This legal provision, outlined in the Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) § 42-4-1301.1, signifies a critical element in the state’s commitment to road safety.

Within the framework of this law, drivers are deemed to have given implicit consent to chemical testing by merely operating a motor vehicle within the state’s jurisdiction. The prevalent methods of chemical testing typically include blood or breath samples to ascertain the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). A BAC reading of 0.08 or above constitutes a “per se” violation of Colorado’s DUI laws, whereas a BAC falling between 0.05 and 0.079 is indicative of DWAI. It’s crucial to acknowledge that BAC readings can be contested both in court and during administrative hearings.

One fundamental aspect of the express consent law is the driver’s right to choose between a blood or breath test. While this is the general rule, there are exceptions. Refusing to undergo the test leads to an automatic revocation of the driver’s license, regardless of whether the driver is later found guilty of any crime. Fortunately, there is a recourse available. Individuals facing license revocation due to test refusal have the right to request and attend a hearing before the Department of Revenue.

These administrative hearings serve as a crucial opportunity for drivers to argue for the reinstatement of their licenses. Having legal representation during these proceedings is not only advisable but also instrumental in presenting a solid case. Attorneys specializing in DUI and DWAI cases can leverage their expertise to navigate the intricacies of the legal system, challenge the validity of BAC readings, and craft compelling arguments for the return of driving privileges.

The right to legal representation in these hearings is a safeguard, ensuring that individuals facing potential license suspension have a fair chance to present their case effectively. It’s a measure that upholds the principles of justice and ensures that the consequences of impaired driving are fairly addressed.


In conclusion, Colorado’s express consent law forms the backbone of the state’s efforts to combat impaired driving. It establishes a clear framework for chemical testing, sets legal thresholds for intoxication, and outlines the ramifications of refusing such tests. Comprehending these provisions is essential for all drivers in Colorado, as adherence to express consent regulations is a legal obligation and vital for upholding road safety. The provision of hearings and legal representation adds a layer of protection, ensuring that individuals have a fair opportunity to challenge the revocation of their license and seek a path to responsible and lawful driving. For legal assistance and guidance in navigating DUI and DWAI cases in Colorado, individuals can turn to experienced professionals like those at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, who specialize in alcohol and drug-related driving offenses in the state.

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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