The offence of failing to provide a specimen is committed if:
“a person, without reasonable excuse, fails to provide a specimen when required to do so.”
The police can lawfully require a person to provide a specimen of:
- breath, or
in the course of an investigation as to whether a person has committed the offences of:
- being in charge/driving or attempting to drive whilst unfit, or
- driving/attempting to drive with excess alcohol.
When a person fails to give a sample requested, either at the roadside or at the police station, they commit the offence unless they can show they had a reasonable excuse for not providing.
The officer must warn the person that they could be prosecuted for failing to provide.
The police will decide which sample they require. The suspect cannot choose.
Usually a breath specimen will be first requested. However, a blood or urine sample could be requested.
If a reasonable excuse is raised for not providing a specimen, then a defendant should be acquitted of the offence unless the prosecution can prove (beyond reasonable doubt) that no reasonable excuse exists.
A reasonable excuse is generally one which prevents a person from physically or mentally being able to provide a sample such as:
- Chest infection
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Fear or phobia of needles
- Prostate problems
The defence has to prove the reasonable excuse on the balance of probabilities therefore, in most cases, expert medical evidence should be obtained in support.
The police must follow the correct procedure during the process.
For example, should the warning of prosecution not be given, the suspect cannot be found to have committed the offence.
If you are convicted of the offence of failing to provide a specimen, the Magistrates may sentence as follows:
- Fine and / or imprisonment for a maximum of 6 months;
- Obligatory disqualification for a minimum period of 12 months (usually 12 – 36 months);
- If it is a second disqualification within 10 years, obligatory disqualification for a period of 3 years;
- If the sample request was made in connection with an offence of “being in charge” disqualification is discretionary and 10 penalty points must be endorsed.
How Can Kangs Solicitors Help?
Kangs Solicitors have a dedicated team which is experienced in representing defendants in motoring matters.
If you are arrested on suspicion of drink/drug driving, you can make contact with us from the police station by asking the custody sergeant to phone our emergency number which is contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
If you have been charged with an offence of failing to provide, it is important that you obtain expert legal advice as soon as possible.
Kangs Solicitors will investigate and advise whether you have a defence to the charge.
If you do have a defence, one of our expert motoring lawyers can represent you at trial.
If we believe that there is no defence available to you, we can prepare and present mitigation to the Court in order to minimise the sentence.
For expert advice regarding any motoring offence please contact our team of solicitors which has a proven track-record in defending clients on motoring matters.