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Failing To Provide A Specimen

It is an offence for a person who has been required to provide a specimen for analysis by the police to then fail to do so without reasonable excuse.

Requests for a specimen are normally required when an individual is suspected of either driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst being unfit or impaired or over the prescribed alcohol or drug limit. The punishment for the offence is often more severe than the original suspected offence with conviction commonly resulting in lengthy disqualifications and a community penalty such as unpaid work. Lesser offences can result in a fine being imposed but in more serious cases custodial sentences can be considered.

The authorities may seek to obtain evidential specimens of breath, blood or urine and these specimens can be required at the side of the road, at a police station or in a hospital.

A reasonable excuse not to provide is described as a physical or mental inability and this is commonly, but not limited to, medical conditions such as lung and chest complaints or mental health concerns. If a defence of reasonable excuse is raised, then the burden is with the prosecution to negate it.

Further to positive arguments such as medical issues there can also be technical defences arising from improper procedure when a sample is requested and in the case of breath tests the incorrect operation of the breathalyser machine.

Given the complex and technical nature of this are of law and the various legal issues that arise from requirements to provide a specimen it is crucial that seek the advice of a specialist solicitor at the earliest opportunity if accused of an offence.

Sentencing Guidelines

Maximum: Level 5 fine and/or 6 months custody.


Must endorse and disqualify for at least 12 months.

Must disqualify for at least 2 years if offender has had 2 or more disqualifications for periods of 56 days or more in the preceding 3 years.

Must disqualify for at least 3 years if the offender has been convicted of a relevant offence in preceding 10 years.

What To Do Now

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