The Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test During a DUI Stop in Brampton

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence in Brampton, Ontario, and law enforcement officers are vigilant in their efforts to curb this dangerous behaviour on the roads. To this end, police officers are authorized to conduct breathalyzer tests on drivers suspected of being impaired. Breathalyzer tests are a crucial tool in determining an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and establishing whether they are over the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.

However, you may wonder, what are the consequences if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test during a DUI stop? Is it a viable option to avoid a DUI charge? In this informative blog post, the Calvin Barry Professional Corporation, a reputable criminal defence firm with extensive experience handling DUI cases in Brampton, will provide a comprehensive overview of the legal consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test. We will highlight the potential penalties involved, considerations for mounting a defence, and your rights when facing charges related to breathalyzer test refusal.

Understanding the Legal Ramifications of Breathalyzer Test Refusal

Drivers who are suspected of being impaired and refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test in Brampton may face severe legal consequences. Although refusing the test might seem like a way to avoid a DUI charge, such a refusal could result in charges under the Criminal Code of Canada for failing or refusing to provide a breath sample. These charges carry similar penalties to a DUI conviction, which includes fines, license suspensions, and even the possibility of jail time.

However, even in cases where the driver is not impaired and refuses the breathalyzer test, they may still face penalties under provincial laws affecting their driving record and insurance premiums. It is crucial to understand the potential legal repercussions of refusing a breathalyzer test to make informed decisions during a DUI stop.

Potential Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

In Brampton and the rest of Ontario, the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test are as follows:

  1. First Offence: A minimum fine of $1,000, a one-year driving prohibition, and the requirement to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program for a minimum of one year upon license reinstatement.
  2. Second Offence: A minimum of 30 days in jail, a minimum two-year driving prohibition, and mandatory enrollment in the Ignition Interlock Program for a minimum of three years upon license reinstatement.
  3. Third or Subsequent Offence: A minimum of 120 days in jail, a minimum three-year driving prohibition, and participation in the Ignition Interlock Program for a minimum of six years upon the license reinstatement.
Effective Defences for Breathalyzer Test Refusal Charges

While it is vital to understand the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test, it is equally important to know that there are potential legal defences that may be applicable in such cases. Some common defences for breathalyzer test refusal charges include:

  1. Lack of Reasonable Suspicion: A police officer must have reasonable suspicion to believe that you have consumed alcohol or drugs before requesting a breathalyzer test. If the officer lacked sufficient grounds for suspecting impairment, the breathalyzer demand may be deemed unlawful, and the refusal charges could be dismissed.
  2. Infringement of Constitutional Rights: If the police officer violated your Charter rights, such as your right to legal counsel or protection against arbitrary detention, the refusal charges might be dropped.
  3. Medical or Physical Reasons for Not Providing a Sample: If you can demonstrate that a medical or physical condition prevented you from providing an adequate breath sample, this could be grounds to dismiss the refusal charges.
Your Rights During a DUI Stop

When stopped by the police for a suspected DUI, it is critical to know your rights as a driver. You have the right to remain silent and consult with a lawyer before answering any questions. Additionally, you have the right to be informed of the reason for your detention and the charges you may be facing.

However, it is important to note that these rights do not absolve you of the obligation to provide a breath sample when requested by a law enforcement officer with reasonable suspicion of impairment. Refusing a breathalyzer test could result in similar penalties as those for a DUI conviction, making it essential to understand the implications of your actions during a roadside stop.


Refusing a breathalyzer test during a DUI stop in Brampton can result in severe legal consequences that may significantly impact your life. By understanding the potential penalties, legal defences, and your rights during a DUI stop, you can make more informed decisions when faced with such circumstances.

At the Calvin Barry Professional Corporation, our team of experienced criminal defence lawyers in Toronto and Brampton is well-equipped to guide clients through the complexities of breathalyzer test refusal cases and assist in navigating the legal process. By seeking advice from our knowledgeable legal team, you can confidently address the challenges associated with breathalyzer refusal charges and secure the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today.

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