Attorneys must know the law, maintain a close watch on current events, and possess the fortitude to confront the government when it violates the rights of citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 wrought havoc on all facets of daily life: work, education, family and social life and wellness. Additionally, the Colorado Springs Police Department implemented policies to its DUI enforcement that had the potential to significantly and severely impact the rights of people suspected of driving under the influence. The Maher & Maher Law team identified this issue and dug in to fight this issue and ensure their clients received the best representation possible.
COVID & BREATHALYZER TESTS – What Happened and Why Does It Matter?
Leadership of the Colorado Springs Police Department unilaterally determined in March of 2020 that their officers would only offer a blood test to people suspected of driving under the influence. Their reasoning was that a breathalyzer test created an undue risk of communicating the COVID-19 virus. The department made this decision without consulting medical experts nor exploring best practices within other municipalities and jurisdictions. Many other jurisdictions implemented additional distancing and safety measures to minimize the risk of law enforcement personnel contracting COVID-19.
You Might Think That Seems Reasonable, So What’s The Problem?
The problem is that decision violated the rights of potentially hundreds, maybe even thousands, of El Paso County citizens suspected of driving under the influence in the Colorado Springs area. Failure to submit to a blood test (rather than the much less invasive breath test) would constitute a refusal to test and result in an immediate arrest and revocation of the person’s driver’s license for 12 months.
Further, the CSPD leadership made this decision without any direct consultation with medical experts. What’s more, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had sent a memo to all Colorado Law Enforcement Agencies providing agencies with a protocol to perform breath testing safely prior to the CSPD deciding to bar breath testing.
This policy sat in place until February of 2021, with COVID 7-day incidence rates nearly ten times higher than in March 2020, the CSPD suddenly reverted to normal practice of offering either a breathalyzer or blood test – this occurred after a DUI case was dismissed in El Paso County and after the District Attorney’s Office suggested strongly that the Department reevaluate its policy.
Almost all other law enforcement agencies in El Paso County were regularly offering breath testing – including the Colorado State Patrol – during this period. If you were pulled over by CSPD in El Paso County during this period then your rights were different than other citizens who were pulled over on the same day by nearly every other law enforcement agency in the county.
Why Should You Care?
CSPD’s decision brazenly violates Colorado’s statutory law and court case law. People were deprived their right to choose their testing method. This is a right our legislature – fellow citizens we elected to pass our laws – has determined is a right we shall enjoy. If government is allowed to deprive the rights of hundreds, potentially thousands of citizens in these cases, what stops the government from continuing to do this in other areas. Areas that directly affect you.
The Maher & Maher team saw this as a capricious and unlawful policy. They took the extra step of pursuing legal remedies for their clients who were charged within this window.
As of August 2021, DUI charges in several cases have been dismissed by several El Paso County courts due to this violation of Colorado Law. The Maher & Maher team is committed to ensuring the rights we enjoy as citizens are protect and will not be infringed upon by government actors. This has resulted in optimum outcomes for our clients.
Maher & Maher Law, PC: DUI Experts
The experienced and professional attorneys of Maher & Maher Law regularly go above and beyond and fight for what’s RIGHT. The Maher & Maher Law team will dig deeper and fight harder for YOU. Call us to help ensure you have the best representation possible. Call (719.301.7500) or text (719.424.0057) Maher & Maher Law today for a free consultation.