Fail to provide specimen

Fail to provide specimen

If you are under investigation for certain road traffic offences including, drink driving; drug driving; drunk in charge of a vehicle; or in charge of a vehicle when unfit through drink and drugs, then you can be legally required to provide specimens of breath, blood or urine.

If you fail to properly provide a specimen or refuse to do so without reasonable excuse, then you are guilty of the offence which could result in a criminal record if found guilty.

Failing to Provide a Specimen

If you fail a roadside breath test or you cannot provide a complete sample the Police will require you to undergo further testing at either a police station or at hospital.

You will be required to provide a breath test, urine sample or blood sample depending upon the circumstances. This sample(s) will be used as evidence in Court.

It is crucial that the Police carefully follow all of the correct procedures and if they have failed to do so it can be fatal to the prosecution case. This is a very technical area of law and our experts will carefully assess the procedures followed and where appropriate, instruct an independent forensic scientist to support your case.

If you fail to provide a specimen you can be prosecuted and convicted, unless there is a ‘reasonable excuse’ for your failure to do so.

Examples of what may constitute a ‘reasonable excuse’ for failing to provide a sample include:

• A genuine phobia of putting your mouth on the breath test device mouthpiece for fear of catching AIDS;
• Not having the lung capacity or physical ability to blow sufficiently hard and long enough to provide a specimen which the device was able to analyse;
• Where you fear of needles was so severe that you are incapacitated from giving blood;
• Where the threatening behaviour of the Police caused mental anguish and despite your best efforts, rendered you incapable of providing a specimen.
Sentences vary and can come with life changing consequences. This is a serious offence that carries a mandatory disqualification.

If convicted of this offence you can receive:

• A fine of up to £5000
• Driving disqualification for a minimum of 12 months. The minimum disqualification increases to three years if you have a previous relevant conviction within the last 10 years
• Unpaid community work;
• An electronically monitored curfew;
• Up to six months imprisonment for the most serious offenders;
• If you are convicted of failing to provide a specimen where you were found to be in charge of the vehicle, or even where you were found not to have been in charge, nor driving nor attempting to drive the vehicle, a discretionary disqualification or 10 penalty points and up to three months imprisonment, unless Special Reasons  apply;
• If you are a new driver and are sentenced to 10 penalty points, then your licence would be revoked and you would have to retake your test. Your job may be at risk if you are banned from driving;
• Increase in insurance premiums following a period of disqualification
• You will have a criminal record that will only become spent after the time scales set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Consequently, if required you will have to inform your employers or future employers of this conviction during those time scales.

What happens next?

If you are found guilty, or plead guilty, to failing to provide a specimen it is crucial that you consult the expertise of a qualified solicitor.

Mander Cruickshank Solicitors have experts who specialise in all areas of motoring law. We will scrutinise the Police procedures in order to identify whether there has been any failures on their part in relation to the investigation.

Remember, you have a defence if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for failing or refusing to provide a sample or if the police have failed to follow the correct procedures.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ must arise out of a physical or mental inability to provide a sample or a substantial risk to health in its provision and medical evidence would be required to support this defence.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ is a matter of law and we have detailed knowledge of the complex case law in this area. We will be able to advise you on the prospects of your particular case.

In some cases our team will advise on a ‘Special Reasons’  defence with the aim of avoiding mandatory disqualification.

A ‘Special Reasons’ defence may apply where it is evident to the Court that:

• You had no intention of driving the vehicle; and
• You could not have been a danger on the road.

We will examine all of the circumstances of the alleged offence with you and will advise whether or not there are prospects of presenting a ‘special reasons’ defence. 

Whilst the onus is upon you to establish that Special Reasons apply, we will present the most forceful representations on your behalf. Our team are experts in presenting this argument to the Court and have a proven track record in these cases.

We have a detailed knowledge of the ever evolving, complex body of case law governing how these arguments are determined. Our team are experts in presenting this argument to Courts throughout England & Wales and have a proven track record of success.

It is important to remember that by seeking legal advice from the outset you can help to ensure that any complexities and potential implications are effectively managed. Having access to expert advice can bring peace of mind at a time when you face uncertainty and concerns for what lies ahead.