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Posts Tagged ‘Failing to provide a specimen.’

The vital difference between drink driving and failing to provide a specimen

I was reminded this weekend of the important difference between drink driving and failing to provide a specimen.

I took a call on Easter Sunday from someone who had found me on the internet. He had been charged with failing to provide a specimen, having been arrested originally for drink driving.

He was in a predicament and wanted to tell me his story.

He was at a family function, he was staying the night and had popped out to his car to get some CD’s for the party, as he got into the car to get the CD’s the police arrived and arrested him for drink driving. He was taken to the police station and ultimately kept for 8 hours. He was understandably annoyed that he had been arrested when he had not done anything wrong, he had not had chance to tell anyone where he had gone and no doubt people were worrying about him.

He felt he had been treated badly, heavy handed and arrested unfairly. He said that he thought the police had no case against him in relation to drink driving because he had not driven the car, nor was he going to until the following morning.



I agreed with him that he appeared to have a good defence to drink driving or to being drunk in charge. Then he explained that because he knew he had not committed an offence he refused to give a sample.



That’s where it all started to go wrong and I had to give him the bad news that he did not have a defence to failing to provide a sample and that he would be banned from driving.



He did not believe that this could be the case and this is a mistake that many people make. It was really hard to explain to this man, a decent guy who had done nothing wrong that he was going to lose his licence and consequently his job.



It is so important that people remember the difference between drink driving and failing to provide a sample. If you have a defence to drink driving it is essential that you give a sample, it would not have mattered in this case what the reading was. If he had been 5 times over the limit the police would still have to prove that he was in charge of the car. He would have a defence simply by showing that he was not intending to drive until such time as his alcohol level was below the legal limit. He would have had plenty of witnesses who would say that he was staying the night and that he had only gone to get a CD. All of this is irrelevant to a charge of failing to provide a specimen. He wasn’t charged with drink driving or being drunk in charge of a car and by refusing to give a sample he had provided the police with an easy conviction.



The only thing he could do in this situation is to try and argue special reasons not to be disqualified.



For more advice call 01623 397200 or click Drink Drive Solicitor

Drink Driving – failing to provide a specimen

BreathaliserAs a motoring Solicitor one of the offences I get asked about often is drink driving

No one would condone drink driving, it is rightly considered one of the most serious motoring offences and certainly something that you would need advice from a specialist Motoring Solicitor.

There are a number of misconceptions about drink driving and in particular about failing to provide a sample.

It is one of the few offences (along with terrorism) that the police can take action in the police station before a solicitor arrives. You are not entitled to wait for a solicitor to arrive, or to give advice over the phone before you give a breath sample.

If you fail to provide a sample then unless you have a reasonable excuse you will be guilty of a offence. This offence carries a disqualification – just like drink driving and the sentencing guidelines for failing to provide are more serious than drink driving.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that because they were not drunk or were not driving then they do not have to give a sample. This is plainly wrong. If you were not driving it is essential that you provide a sample, even if you are over the limit you have a defence to drink driving – namely that you weren’t drink driving. If you don’t give a sample because you were not driving then you are guilty of failing to provide a sample and the fact that you weren’t driving is no defence at all.

What counts as a reasonable excuse? Generally it has to be a medical defence and one that can be supported by a doctors report at a later date. The fact that you have a cold and a tight chest is not going to be enough. It is not hard to blow long enough on the machine to get a sample, I have done it often (for research only obviously!)  If you suffer from asthma or a chest complaint then that may be a defence and you need to mention it to the police at the time.

If you think that you may have a defence to failing to provide a specimen or drink drive it is essential that you contact a specialist Drink Driving Solicitor as soon as possible.

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