Refuse to Provide Breath or Blood Sample

If a breathalyzer is requested or an officer asks for a blood sample from a driver suspected of impaired driving, contact a criminal lawyer before saying anything. The consequences can be serious.


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Refuse Breath or Blood Sample

If the driver refuses to take the breathalyzer on the roadside or at the police station they can be criminally charged. There is also an option for an officer to demand a blood sample. This may arise when the officer believes the suspect is not capable of providing a sample, perhaps due to injury.  The criminal penalties for refusing a breath or blood sample will be essentially the same as an Impaired Driving or over 80 mg charge. If you are charged, always contact a Criminal Lawyer before making any statements.

Refuse sample

Refusing Breathalyzer Tests

If you’re operating a vehicle and the police have requested a sample of your breath, it is in your best interest to comply because:

Note that  a driver can refuse a breathalyzer test and that nobody can physically force you submit to one. With this said, the police can charge the driver with the “Refusing a Breathalyzer Test” which is a criminal offence. More so, refusing a breathalyzer test and failing a breathalyzer test carry the same penalty.


How to Fight Charges of Refusing Breathalyzer Test

The police can sometimes make mistakes when demanding a breath sample or administering the breathalyzer test. The defence can use these mistakes to dismiss the charge or reduce the penalties for the accused. 

Remember that facing a criminal charge doesn’t make one guilty of the charge against them.

Certain issues have to be proven before someone can be convicted for impaired driving.

Examples of which are:

Proving that the police have a legal right to make a demand for a breathalyzer test

Proving that the police clearly explained the test to the driver

Proving that the driver completely understood the police

Proving that the accused had a way to seek or contact a lawyer

Checking if the police abused the rights of the accused at any stage of the process

If you have been charged with impaired driving in Canada, note that you have the right to be heard by a judge who will make an impartial decision based on the facts of the case. The judge will determine if the procedure for obtaining a breath sample was correctly done.

This responsibility is not for the police or the crown attorney to fulfill. Only the judge can say when someone is guilty of impaired driving.


Penalty for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

Failing a Breathalyzer Test

As mentioned earlier, refusing a breathalyzer test carry the same penalty as failing a breathalyzer test. Penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test include:

• Paying a fine between $1,000 and $2,000
• Facing one-year license suspension
• Having to install an ignition interlock device
• Joining a Back on Track Program
• Undergoing mandatory drinking and driving counselling
• Having a criminal record for life

Definition of “Refuse a Breathalyzer Test”

First, the police must have reasonable grounds to believe that the following scenarios happened in the last 3 hours:

• That a person committed an impaired driving offence as defined in section 253 of the Criminal Code
• That the police officer may make a demand that the person should provide breath samples as soon as practicable
• That the breath samples from the person will enable an analysis to determine the driver’s blood-alcohol level as stated by a qualified technician’s opinion

If the person fails or refuses the breathalyzer test without a reasonable excuse considering all of the above under section 254.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, then the person can face a charge of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test.

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At Calvin Barry, You Will Be Defended

Are you in need of a lawyer or are you seeking legal advice about “Refusing breath or blood sample”  in Canada? Be sure to contact Calvin Barry Law. Our offices are open and ready to serve you. Everything discussed will be held with complete confidence and privacy. Do not hesitate to contact Calvin Barry Law if you’re looking for a Criminal lawyer in Toronto. We will be happy to answer your questions, review the documents related to your charge, inform you of what can be done for your defense, and respond to your other concerns.


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