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What if I'm stopped or arrested on an allegation of drink driving?

View profile for Russell Morling
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If you are arrested at the road side following police stopping you, or following an accident, you ought to provide a road side specimen.  Failing to do so will result in your likely arrest.  Even if you turn out to be under the legal limit when you get to the police station, you could possibly face an allegation of failing to provide a specimen at the roadside.  The advantage of providing a roadside specimen is if you are under the legal limit, you will not be arrested.

Even if you are not driving, or are in charge of your motor vehicle in question and are arrested and taken to the police station, then you will be asked to provide an evidential specimen.  If an individual fails to provide an evidential specimen at the police station then the likely outcome is that you will face an allegation of fail to provide an evidential specimen.

For both drink drive offences, where the person is over the limit and failing to provide an evidential specimen where there is proof of driving, if convicted or pleading guilty, there is normally a mandatory disqualification and imprisonment for up to six months.

Failing to provide an evidential specimen, especially where there has been a refusal and there is evidence of a poor standard of driving such as a road traffic accident, can be seen as more serious as when the court decide upon sentence they will be looking at the defendant as having something to hide.

So what happens if you get to the police station and you can’t provide an evidential specimen?  Normally the police will require you to provide two specimens of breath on the intoxometer machine.  If you believe you will have difficulty doing so then you should raise medical reasons.  However, you should at least make an attempt to provide the specimen.  Failure to even try and not mentioning medical reasons at the time are likely to result in a failure to provide an evidential specimen charge being put.  If you can’t provide an evidential breath specimen, and you have raised this with the police then it is likely an alternative specimen will be taken.  This is either blood or urine.  It is up to the officer dealing with the matter to decide which.  Again, failure to provide either will result in a charge of failing to provide an evidential specimen.

If you are taken to hospital following a road traffic accident, again it is likely you will be asked to provide an evidential specimen.  If you are not in a fit state to consent, then a doctor will be asked to confirm whether there are medical reasons why the specimen cannot be taken.  At a later date you will be asked to provide your consent to the blood being analysed if you were not in a fit state to consent there and then.  You ought to consent.  Following the taking of either blood or urine, either at the police station or at hospital, you will be provided with the opportunity to of taking part of the sample.  One part is retained by the police for their own analysis the second sample is provided to accused person to send off for analysis themselves.

The sample is provided in packaging with details of organisations which carry out analysis.  The blood or urine must be stored as per the packaging.  The analysis should be carried out as soon as possible as the blood and urine can deteriorate over time.

If during the investigation the police cannot prove that the person was actually driving or in charge possibly of a motor vehicle, then an interview may very well take place at the police station.  This may be on the day the individual has been arrested and provided a positive sample of breath or at a later dated if the persons provided a sample at hospital.  The police during interview will obviously ask questions about who was driving the motor vehicle.  During any interview at the police station, you are entitled to speak to a solicitor free of charge.  This maybe a nominated solicitor or this maybe your own solicitor.  However you cannot ask to speak to a solicitor before providing any of the evidential specimens.   This is because any delay in providing the specimen may result in an allegation of failing to provide.

Morlings Solicitors can offer advice on all criminal matters including driving offences such as drunk in charge and drink drive.

The next article will cover if you have been charged with an excess alcohol offence.  There are potential defences, even if you are over the limit and have to admit to it when breathalysed.  You may be able to avoid disqualification following a Special Reasons Argument.  The next article will also cover the difference between drunk in charge and drink drive.

For further information please call to speak to one of our experts on 01622 673081