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What happens if the reading is close to the limit?

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It is that time of year again when “one more” drink can cost a lot more then your utility bills and could have far reaching repercussions on your life.

If you are unfortunate to get stopped by the police and you score 39 micrograms or less with the lower of your readings, then you can expect to be released without charge or with a caution.

On the other hand if the lower reading falls between 40 and 50 micrograms, the police have to present you with the option of giving a specimen of blood or urine as an alternative.

You should be asked whether you would prefer to give blood or urine, but ultimately it is for the police to choose which one they offer you, unless there is a medical condition which would make either option unfeasible. The police are not able to take a blood sample without your agreement, but if you refuse this option once it is offered then the police are entitled to rely on the breath sample, which was taken.

If giving a urine sample you will be requested to give two samples. Any blood sample must usually be taken by a police surgeon. You have a right to have two blood samples taken which it is wise to take advantage of.

What happens if the roadside test is positive, refuse, or can’t give the necessary sample?

If your test comes out positive, or you won’t or can’t give the sample, you will be arrested and taken to the police station. There you will usually be asked to provide two specimens of breath for analysis.

If the two readings are different then the police must use the lower reading and ignore the higher one. In the event that the reading is in excess of the prescribed limit you will have committed an offence and will be charged.

It is not your right to choose to give a urine or blood sample instead. Failing to provide a sample without a reasonable excuse is punished as severely as being caught driving over the limit – depending on whether you were in charge of the vehicle or actually driving, you could find yourself disqualified from driving and even spending six months in jail.

A medical condition which prevents you from giving enough breath for the machine to give a reading may be accepted as an excuse – if you believe you may not be able to give a reading, you should inform the officer as soon as possible. Being too drunk to provide a sample is not a reasonable excuse.

You may be requested to give a sample of blood or urine as an alternative to a breath test in the event that:

  1. The police officer has reasonable cause to believe that, for medical reasons, a breath sample cannot or should not be taken;
  2. At the time there is no reliable approved device for taking breath samples available or it is not practicable to use that device;
  3. The officer has reasonable cause to believe that the device has not produced a reliable indication of the level of alcohol;
  4. The officer, through a preliminary test, has reasonable cause to believe you have taken drugs;
  5. The police officer has been advised by a doctor or other medical practitioner that your condition might be due to drugs being taken.

However our best advice is to not drink and drive period. If you do want to drink make sure you have a designated driver, catch a taxi or use public transportation for your journey home.

Be Drink Aware - Something’s are not worth the risk.

Happy holidays form everyone at Wainwright and Cummins LLP

If you need help for Any motoring offence and need our 24 Hour Emergency contact line please call us on :
020 7737 9339