Police officers may request a driver to provide a breath sample or a saliva swab at the side of the road if they suspect them to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, police officers may request a blood or urine sample at the police station. These powers are given under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Police Reform Act 2002.
Failure to comply with a request to provide a specimen is a criminal offence unless the driver has a medical exemption, such as a physical illness, or is unable to consent. Police may refer to a healthcare professional in this instance.
If the failure to provide occurs when the defendant is driving or attempting to drive, disqualification is automatic. The sentencing guidelines range from a 12-month to a 36-month ban. In serious cases, where the defendant’s ability to drive is clearly seriously impaired and they refuse to provide a sample, they could be sentenced to a 26-week custodial sentence. Any sentence is aggravated if this is the second offence in a ten-year period.
Failing to provide a specimen is treated as seriously as driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and it is advisable to seek legal advice if you are charged with this offence.
Our specialist motoring law solicitors at Nicholls & Nicholls can assist with representation at hearings and interviews under caution, advise on allegations and provide legal insight into court proceedings.
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