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Charged with Failure to Provide a Specimen?


refused breathalyserIf a person refuses to provide a specimen of breath when lawfully required to do so at a police station or at a roadside then they commit an offence.

The same rules apply to failing to provide a sample of blood or urine when legally obliged to do so.
Nevertheless, a driver may be able to avoid conviction if they are able to show that they had a ‘reasonable excuse’ for failing to provide a sample.

A person may have a ‘reasonable excuse’ if there exist medical reasons for their failure to provide a specimen for example, if asthma or breathing difficulties prevent them from blowing into a machine. Alternatively, a person may argue that a fear of needles prevented them from being able to provide a sample of blood. Expert evidence from a doctor or other suitably qualified medical professional will almost always have to be led in support of such a defence.

A person can be found guilty of failing to provide a sample even if they were not driving. All that the prosecution requires to prove in court to establish the validity of a request by a constable to provide a sample is that the constable had reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person had driven whilst under the influence of drink.

However, the fact that a person did not drive may amount to ‘special reasons’ for not disqualifying
The penalty for failing to comply with a roadside breath test is the imposition of a fine of up to £1000, four penalty points and discretionary disqualification. However the penalties for failing to provide a sample at a police station are much more serious.

A person convicted of failing to provide at a police station faces mandatory disqualification for a minimum of twelve months together with the potential of a fine, community service or a period of imprisonment of up to six months. Where a person has been convicted of an alcohol related driving offence within the last ten years the minimum period of disqualification rises to at least three years.
Nevertheless it should be borne in mind that the legal rules applicable to police procedures in relation to these offences are procedurally complex and that if police officers have failed to proceed properly in dealing with offenders facing charges such as these then acquittal will follow.

In all circumstances the advice of an expert road traffic lawyer should be sought at the earliest possible stage.

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