Failure to Provide a Specimen
If you fail to provide a breath, blood or urine specimen at the request of a police officer, you could face serious consequences. Failure to provide a specimen at the roadside or at a police station without a reasonable and valid excuse is deemed a serious criminal offence by the law Courts of England and Wales.
The penalties for such a charge range from fines to disqualification from driving and even imprisonment in some more serious cases.
If you have been accused of failing to provide a specimen, it is essential to seek legal counsel at the earliest possible opportunity to assess whether you have valid grounds to contest the charges against you.
Ways the law might protect an individual not providing a specimen
You are legally obliged to provide a specimen if asked to do so by a police officer. Failure to provide a specimen is a criminal offence unless you have an acceptable reason for not providing one. Some valid reasons include:
Mental health issues
A pre-existing mental health issue or one that could reasonably be deemed to have been prompted by the circumstances involved in your case could constitute a reasonable excuse for not providing a specimen.
Improper police procedures
Some cases may be contested or thrown out of Court if police procedures were not followed correctly. For instance, if an officer does not warn a motorist that failing to provide a specimen could lead to prosecution, no offence has been committed.
A medical condition, such as asthma in the case of a breath test or prostate issues if a urine sample has been requested, is another mitigating factor that the Courts may consider as a reasonable excuse for failing to provide a specimen. Expert evidence would be required to prove such claims.
Phobia of needles
In some instances, the police may request a blood test. In such cases, a reasonable excuse for not complying with their request could be a genuine phobia of needles. However, medical evidence would need to be provided.
Get expert legal advice from DPP Law today
DPP Law is comprised of some of the most experienced and skilled criminal defence solicitors in the country. We have defended clients facing serious driving offences, including failure to provide a specimen charges.
We will work closely with you to explore every possible defence to help you to achieve an acceptable outcome.
If you have been charged with failing to provide a specimen, contact DPP Law immediately on 0333 200 5859. The seriousness of such a charge, and the potential punishments involved, require expert legal support.
What is the penalty for failing to provide a specimen?
The punishments for failing to provide a specimen vary according to the circumstances. These can include up to an unlimited fine and a minimum driving ban of 12 months, rising to five years if you have been convicted of a drink driving or alcohol-related offence within the last ten years.
In the most serious cases, you could be sentenced to a maximum of six months in prison. Therefore, seeking legal counsel is imperative when facing such charges.
Am I still able to drive if I have been charged with failing to provide a specimen?
Yes. You will still be able to drive when charged with failing to provide a specimen. However, if a Court later finds you guilty of failing to provide a specimen, you can reasonably expect a minimum driving ban of 12 months.
Therefore, it is essential to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity when facing such a charge. DPP Law’s experienced motoring offence solicitors can help you to mount a strong defence and reduce your sentence.
Can the police use force to obtain a specimen if I am unwilling to provide one?
No. Under the Criminal Law Act 1967, the police can only use reasonable force as a last resort to prevent crime or to lawfully arrest someone. As such, you cannot be forced to provide a specimen. If you believe that you have been the victim of excessive force by the police, DPP Law can help you to make a claim.
Leading Actions Against the Police solicitor, Ian Gould, has helped clients to mount successful cases against the police.
Can I be charged with failing to provide a specimen even if I was not driving under the influence?
Yes. Even if you were not driving under the influence at the time, the police can charge you with failing to provide a specimen if they have reasonable grounds to believe that you have driven or attempted to drive your vehicle whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.
It is important to remember that a charge of failing to provide a specimen relates to the non-compliance of providing a specimen, not the broader reason for requesting the specimen.