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When can the police request a breath test?

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Only a police officer can request a breath test. However the officer does not have to be in uniform.

They will have to be uniformed to administer it (unless after an accident). The request can only be made in one of the following scenarios:

  1. The police officer has reasonable cause to suspect that you have committed, or are currently committing, a moving traffic offence;
  2. Having stopped them, an officer has reasonable cause to suspect that the person driving/attempting to drive/in charge of the vehicle has consumed alcohol;
  3. The police officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were the person driving/attempting to drive/in charge of a motor vehicle, which was involved in an accident.

This means that the police cannot simply stop you at any time and insist on a breath test. They are entitled to randomly stop your car, but they can only insist on a breath test in one of the cases described above.

Failure to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine

When a police-person requests a specimen of breath, blood or urine, it is an offence to refuse. Regardless of whether the side of the road or in a police station makes the request. Nonetheless, you may be able to put up a valid defence against being convicted if you are able to show that there was a valid reason for your refusal.

Reasons that could be accepted may include such things as breathing problems in the case of breath tests, or a fear of needles if they were intending to take a blood sample. While these reasons certainly may stand up in court, it is vital that you get legal advice.

If you are convicted of failure to provide a specimen, you may face a fine of up to £5,000, and could be banned from driving for a minimum period of 12 months (or 3 years if you have been found guilty of drink-driving or another alcohol-related crime within the previous 10 years). Additionally, more serious offences may leave you looking at a prison sentence of up to six months.

What to do if you are caught driving over the limit?
You will be taken into police custody and your vehicle may be impounded. Try to remain calm and consult a solicitor.

If you have been caught drink driving, we have all the information you will need to know that could help reduce your fine and help protect your licence.

Please get in contact with us on our 24hour hotline 02077379339 or request us while you are in police custody