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Failing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine is an offence whether at the roadside or at the police station. However should you have a reasonable excuse for not providing a sample a charge for this offence may not always lead to a conviction.

If the police think that you have consumed alcohol, or are under the influence and have been driving then they are entitled by law to obtain a sample of breath, blood or urine from you.

In the ordinary course of events a breath test will be taken but in certain circumstances the police may require the accused to provide a blood or urine test. It is at the discretion of the police as to whether the sample to be supplied is blood or urine. If an accused person fails to provide a sample of blood but offers to give a sample of urine instead then unless they are able to provide a good reason for refusal they are guilty of an offence.

A person may have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for providing such a sample if they have medical reasons for their failure to provide a specimen. However, unless they tell the police of their medical difficulty at the time it can be difficult (but not impossible) to successfully defend a charge such as this. Expert evidence from a doctor or other suitably qualified medical professional will almost always have to be led in support of such a defence.

In assessing whether an accused person can be said to have failed to provide a sample the court looks at the accused’s state of mind at the time that the demand is made by the police.

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 been driving 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.

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.

We have had considerable experience and success in defending such charges. If you have been charged with an offence under this section then we suggest that you contact us at the earliest opportunity for expert legal advice.

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