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Only weeks left before Colorado DUI laws get tougher

Just as many will be celebrating New Year's, many others might end up wishing it were 2013 again. Why? Because drunk driving laws in Colorado are set to change starting on Jan. 1.

That doesn't mean that people should get their drunk driving out of their systems now; it means that Colorado drivers will have bigger fights to fight if faced with certain DUI-related charges come next year. It also means that drivers should understand now, more than ever, what happens if they refuse sobriety tests when confronted by police.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that more than 7,000 Colorado DUI suspects refused either breath and/or blood tests during investigations last year. If drivers know that the test refusal laws are changing, perhaps MADD will report a lot fewer refusals for next year.

If drivers who are being investigated for suspicion of DUI refuse to take either a blood or breath test, they will automatically be treated like what in Colorado is classified as persistent offenders. Even without prior DUIs or excessive BAC levels, those who refuse a test will lose their driver's license for a year. If they want their licenses back before the year is up, they must wait at least two months and agree to have ignition interlock devices hooked up in their vehicles.

Anyone who has questions about their rights when pulled over, before, during or after a potential DUI arrest, should reach out to a criminal defense attorney in Colorado. Laws change, and the DUI laws in our state most definitely are changing to make things tougher on drivers.

Source: ABC 7 News, "Starting on Jan. 1, drivers who refuse sobriety tests will be labeled 'persistent drunk drivers'," Marshall Zelinger, Dec. 17, 2013

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