Drink driving offences are all too common and the police
force are continuing to crack down on drivers that continue
to put themselves and others at serious risk of injury or
death by getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
Whether or not you have been drinking and driving, what
happens if you are stopped by the police and are asked to
perform a breath test? What if you refuse to do so? Are you
entitled to refuse? What are the consequences of refusing or
failing to provide a specimen?
If you refuse or fail to provide a specimen of breath when
stopped by the police and asked to do so you are committing
an offence. Unless you can prove that you have a 'reasonable
excuse' for not complying with the request from the police,
you will be convicted and penalised.
A 'reasonable excuse' is more often than not an excuse based
on medical grounds such as the fact that you have breathing
difficulties and feel they would be exacerbated by having to
blow into the breathalyser. Similarly, if you are taken to
the police station and asked to give a specimen of blood it
may be a 'reasonable excuse' to say that you have a fear of
needles and therefore cannot comply with their request.
However, in both circumstances your excuse must be fully
backed up by supportive medical evidence if you are to have
any chance of succeeding in your defence.
If you are convicted of failing to provide a specimen,
either because you have no defence or your defence has
failed, you will be penalised. If your conviction is for
failing to provide a specimen at the roadside you will
receive four penalty points on your licence or a
discretionary disqualification. If your conviction relates
to failing to provide a specimen of breath, urine or blood
at the police station you will receive a fine and will be
disqualified from driving for a minimum of 12 months.
However, if you have been previously convicted of a driving
offence within the last ten years the minimum
disqualification period will be reduced to 3 years.
If you do find yourself in the position of being stopped by
the police and asked to take part in a breath test - whether
or not you have been drinking alcohol - unless you have a
genuine, reasonable excuse for not doing so, you should
always comply with the request. Refusing to do so is highly
likely to lead to severe penalisation by way of penalty
points, fines or disqualification.