Colorado and Expressed Consent for Blood and Breath Tests

No one enjoys getting pulled over by the police. While law enforcement is charged with the duty to enforce traffic laws, they do not always get things right during a traffic stop. For those accused of drunk driving in Colorado should understand not only the expressed consent law but also when it is possible for an officer to conduct a breath or blood test to determine a motorist’s BAC.

Refusing a Blood Draw

In the state of Colorado, it was established that the police may forcibly draw blood over the objection of a motorist in certain circumstances. This was determined by the state’s second-highest court, which, when making this decision, expanded on the Colorado Supreme Court case that found that there is no constitutional right to refuse a chemical test.

Expressed Consent

Like most states, Colorado law states that when individuals drive in the state, they have expressed consent to have their blood or breath tested if a police officer has probable cause that the motorist was driving under the influence. In a 2017 Supreme Court case, it was found that the expressed consent law enables police with the right to perform a blood test on an unconscious driving without the need of a warrant.

A recent Court of Appeals case agreed that there is no constitutional protection for motorists that consciously decline to consent to a blood draw. In other words, the expressed consent statute provides that a motorist does not have the right to refuse the test when an officer has probable cause that the motorist was driving under the influence.


While it is presumed that when a motorist decides to drive in the state of Colorado that they have given express consent to a blood or breath test, it is possible to defend against it. If the blood or breath test was performed and there was no probable cause, one could seek to have that evidence dismissed.

Facing a drunk driving charge can be an overwhelming, emotional and challenging time for individuals. Furthermore, it can be confusing when the law changes or has been interpreted differently by the state’s highest court. Thus, it is important one understands the charges, what defenses are possible and how best to move forward with a defense. This could help one reduce the charges against them and possible dismiss them entirely.

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