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Failed to provide a breath specimen - What happens next?

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If you are suspected of driving with excess alcohol in your body, you may be asked to provide a breath sample at the roadside. You will be arrested and take to the police station if that sample is positive.

Why do I have to do provide a further sample at the police station?

The sample taken at the roadside is just a preliminary test to see if you are over the limit. Once at the police station you will be asked to provide two samples of breath for evidential purposes.

But I wasn’t over the limit or driving!

If the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that you were driving and you refuse, without good reason to provide a sample, you may be guilty of failing to provide. The fact you weren’t over the time or not driving does not mean that you can refuse to provide a sample of breath.

What is a refusal?

A failure to provide a sample, even not trying hard enough, for example, constitutes a refusal.

Examples of where reasonable excuse has not been found include: a desire to see a doctor, the illegality of detention, mistake or genuine belief, religious belief, the sight of blood, stress.

The taking of a sample cannot normally be delayed for you to be given legal advice although the police may allow that to happen.

Is there a defence?

A medical reason such as asthma or a genuine needle phobia could constitute a reasonable excuse. It is a defence to show that you had a reasonable excuse not to provide the sample.

What sentence will I receive?

A conviction will result in a mandatory disqualification of at least 12 months and is often in the region of 18 months or longer.

If you have a previous conviction in the last ten years for a drink driving offence, the minimum disqualification will be three years.

As well as a disqualification you could be fined, given a community order or sentenced to up to 6 months in prison.

Is the sentence different if I was not driving?

If you are suspected of being in charge of a vehicle before failing to provide a sample rather than driving, the penalty is different. You may be disqualified, but if you are not disqualified a minimum of ten penalty points will be added to your licence. The maximum prison sentence for this offence is three months.

Types of driving matters that Emery Johnson Astills has experience dealing with include:-

  • Drink Driving and Drunk in Charge of a motor vehicle
  • Speeding leading to exceptional hardship applications
  • No Insurance
  • Dangerous and Careless Driving (including death by careless and death by dangerous driving)
  • Failing to provide a specimen of breath
  • Vehicle Defect Offences
  • Traffic light offences
  • Failing to stop, Failing to report

If you find yourself facing any driving offence it is vital to Contact us  as soon as possible to obtain expert legal advice. Representation at the police station is free, and legal aid may be available for your case at the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. For offences which do not qualify for legal aid, we offer fixed fees for appointments and representation. To discuss any drugs offences please contact our Criminal Defence Team at Emery Johnson Astills in Leicester on 0116 2554855 or in Loughborough on 01509 610312.