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Failing to Provide a Specimen for Analysis

failing to provide a specimen for analysisFailing to Provide a Specimen for Analysis

 

Kevin Green expressed his joy and relief this week at Wolverhampton Crown Court following his successful appeal against conviction and sentence for Failing to Provide a Specimen for Analysis.

 

Kevin had also been charged with Driving Without Due Care and Attention – which he admitted and pleaded guilty to. This charge was brought as a result of his driving falling below the standard expected of a competent motorist on the date in question. Kevin made no excuses for his behaviour in this regard, admitting to his case worker that he had been driving too fast, and changing lanes erratically, as he rushed to get home after a night out. Kevin received credit for entering an early guilty plea to this charge.

 

However, he denied the second charge of Failing to Provide a Specimen for Analysis and made his case worker aware of the full circumstances relating to his attempts to comply with the police’s requests for samples they could then analyse to check if he was over the legal alcohol limit when driving.

 

Kevin, who has lived with asthma since childhood, made the police aware that he had asthma and that he had recently been suffering from a chest infection. He was nevertheless asked to try and give the two evidential breath samples, but was unable to give the sustained breath required for the intoxyliser (breath test) machine.

 

The police then asked Kevin if he would give a blood or urine sample. He agreed to do so.

 

A medic was summoned and some time was spent trying to extract a blood sample. Kevin complied with the procedure fully. A strap was tied around his arm, he was asked to make a fist, the veins in both arms were tapped and yet no blood could be taken. The medic told Kevin that his veins were ‘too deep’. Kevin told us he had never had any issue giving blood in the past, but that the medic seemed nervous and was actually shaking at one point.

 

Kevin was then asked to give a urine sample. Again, he complied with the request. The first sample was disposed of and he was given an hour to give a further sample. Kevin tried, but could not produce any more urine. He explained to the police that his work meant he had trained his bladder and could go for many hours without feeling the need to urinate. The time allowed ran out and, although Kevin had tried several times to give a further sample, he was not able to do so.

 

Kevin was duly charged with Failing to Provide a Specimen for Analysis.

 

We advised Kevin to plead not guilty to this charge, as he clearly had valid reasons for not being able to comply with the requests. He had not refused to provide specimens and had indeed tried his best to do so.

 

However, Kevin was found guilty at trial and sentencing accordingly. His sentence included a disqualification from driving.

 

We advised Kevin that we did not agree with the magistrates’ court’s decision and that he should lodge an appeal. This would mean the case would be reconsidered, but this time by the Crown Court.

 

Kevin took our advice on board and instructed us to prepare his appeal.

 

Kevin’s conviction was quashed by the Crown Court, and when the court’s decision was announced, we were delighted as we felt that – finally – justice had been done. Kevin had been honest with us from the start. He admitted he was not blameless on the date in question and this is why he pleaded guilty to the charge he felt responsible for. However he could not, with a clear conscience, plead guilty to something he had not done. Neither would we ever advise any of our clients to do so.

 

As a result of Kevin’s successful appeal, his sentence was quashed, which means he is able to drive again. He is also to make a claim for a partial refund of his legal fees, which we will assist him with.

 

As Kevin’s case illustrates, you should never plead guilty to something you did not do, or do not feel responsible for. However, a fight for justice often necessitates a strong legal team who have the expertise to ensure that the very best possible outcome is achieved.

 

If you intend to plead not guilty to a charge, or have a case listed for trial, call us on 01623 600645 today for free initial advice. 

 

Client Found Not Guilty of Failure To Provide A Specimen

When Susan Downes* first approached us, she was distraught.  Her first telephone conversation with a paralegal at Forrest Williams was long and halting, as she told her story between periods of silence and sobbing.

 

This experience is not unusual, however, and all staff at Forrest Williams are prepared to wait patiently and gently encourage the person at the other end of the telephone to tell their story, in their own time.  We understand that when a person is charged with an offence this is a deeply worrying and stressful time, and we are keen to offer support as well as free initial advice.

 

Susan told us that she had been charged with failure to provide a specimen of breath for analysis, after police had pulled her over as a result of them having noticed that one of her rear lights was not functioning.  She had been notified of a hearing at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court in just two weeks’ time.

 

Although Susan admitted to us that she had consumed some alcohol that night, whilst out with friends, she was most upset by the fact that the police officers who arrested her were of the opinion that she had wilfully refused to give a breath sample.

 

Susan told us that she had tried several times to give a sample, but that she had struggled.  We asked her about this.  Susan explained that she had had a chest infection for several weeks, and that she had consulted her GP about this.

 

On the basis of her medical issues, we advised her to plead not guilty.

 

In due course, a copy of her medical records was requested from the GP’s surgery, as well as a copy of the prosecution paperwork and the CCTV of the breath test room in the police station.

 

Susan was represented at her trial by a specialist motoring law barrister and was found to be not guilty.  She was very relieved about the court’s decision and gave thanks to Forrest Williams for supporting her through this long and difficult process, which took five months from the date of arrest to the trial.

 

Unfortunately, Susan is not alone.  Forrest Williams are approached by many people who have been charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath where there are clearly medical reasons for them not having been able to give a sustained breath, as required for the evidential breath test machine in station.  In addition, some people are too stressed and anxious to comply with this lawful requirement, which can also constitute a defence.  If you think this could apply to you, please call us as soon as possible on 01623 600645 to discuss.

For more details of how we can help go to our Failing to Provide a Specimen page.

*Client’s name changed to protect identity.

 

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