Failure To Provide A Specimen

Failure to provide a specimen
Legally reviewed by: Kevin Waddingham

Failing to provide a specimen is a crime and you could therefore be prosecuted in court and face a driving ban if you do not adhere to this compulsory request. If you have been charged with failing to provide a specimen, it is in your best interests to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Cartwright King’s specialist Motoring Law team has a proven track record for defending motorists accused of failure to provide a specimen when suspected of drink driving or drug driving.

Benefit from the unique ability of our Motoring Offence Lawyers to build a case that will help clear you of wrongdoing or minimise the action taken against you.

For straightforward, honest advice, get in touch with Cartwright King’s dedicated Motoring Law team today.

How Cartwright King Can Defend You in Failure to Provide a Specimen

No matter the case, Cartwright King always takes a non-judgemental and proactive approach. We listen, we understand, and we genuinely care about protecting you from penalties and punishment. We offer honest, reliable legal advice to ensure that the best possible action is taken to help clear you from failing to provide specimen offences.

We can advise you on all manner of failure to provide a specimen issues, including:

● Accusations of failing to provide a breath, blood or urine sample
Drug driving accusations
Allegations of drink driving

Benefit From a Free, Initial Telephone Conversation

If you have been charged with failure to provide a specimen, you can benefit from a free, initial telephone call with a specialist Cartwright King Motoring Offence Lawyer, to assess your options.

For immediate action, contact us today for your free* initial discussion.

The discussion is an opportunity for us to:

● Get to know you
● Understand your situation and see what can be done next

*Please be aware that this is a ‘get to know you’ call, and no advice will be given.

Why Choose Cartwright King for Your Defence?

Having an experienced Motoring Offence Lawyer representing you is often the difference when it comes to avoiding punishment for failure to provide a specimen allegations.

We listen, we understand, and we genuinely care about protecting you from a driving ban. That’s why we offer sound, honest, reliable legal advice to ensure that you understand your rights when facing charges for failing to provide a specimen.

Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor gives you the assurance of having access to legal counsel who will advise you at every stage of your case.

We’re committed to defending your legal rights and protecting your driving future, ensuring that you’re treated fairly throughout your case.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

Under What Authority Can the Police Ask for a Specimen?

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, the police have the authority to request a specimen from you if they have a suspicion that you have been driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The police can take a specimen at the roadside, or at a police station, depending on what type of specimen they require from you (most commonly, they will ask for a breath test, however, in some cases, it might be urine or blood).

If you fail to provide a specimen without a reasonable excuse, then you are breaking the law and will face a hearing in Court. However, in order for a prosecution for this offence to be successful, you must be warned by a police officer that you could be prosecuted if you fail to provide a sample. If the police fail to do this, then they have not adhered to the correct protocol, and the case will therefore be dismissed.

Quite often, you can be charged despite doing your best to provide a specimen. Regardless, if you have been charged with failing to provide a specimen, it is in your best interests to seek legal representation to clear up any discrepancies.

What Are Reasonable Excuses?

A reasonable excuse is a justification as to why a sample was not given to the police. Reasonable excuses often relate to medical conditions that are either physical or psychological.

If you can provide a suitable reasonable excuse, you should be acquitted of the offence unless the prosecution can prove beyond all reasonable doubt that no such excuse is applicable to your circumstances.

Reasonable excuses can include, but are not limited to:

  • A genuine phobia of needles
  • Stress and/or anxiety
  • Asthma, as well as other respiratory issues that can result in a reduced lung capacity
  • Prostate problems
  • Chest infection

In order for your reasonable excuse to be successful, it must be supported by a report from a professional who can explain why your mental or physical condition prevented you from supplying a sample. If you do not have any official evidence to back your claim, then your reasonable excuse will be disregarded, and you will face sentencing.

What Cannot Be Used as Defence Against a Charge of Failure in Providing a Specimen?

Since you know what can be used in Court in your defence when it comes to this driving offence, you should also probably be aware of what can’t be. Here are some examples of that:

  • Claiming that you were detained under the Mental Health Act – if you can understand the breathalyser procedure, you cannot use this as a defence.
  • Keeping silent while at the police station – your right to remain silent does not extend to the procedure of providing a specimen.
  • Insisting on seeing a lawyer before you provide a sample – this cannot be used as a defence because the suspect might and have used it as a delaying tactic, in hopes that they’ll be able to sober up before the attorney makes it to the police station.
  • Stating that providing only one specimen was sufficient – you need to provide two samples, and the police will focus on the lower one. However, if you provide only one sample, and it falls below the limit, it could constitute a defence.
  • Claiming that you have been mistreated or assaulted by the policemen at the roadside – no matter how you are treated, you have an obligation to provide a specimen when asked for it.
  • Claiming that your refusal to provide a sample was based on religious grounds.

I Wasn't Driving. Do I Still Have to Provide a Sample?

The simple answer is yes. If the police suspect that you were driving attempting to drive or you were in charge of the vehicle while having alcohol or drugs in your system, then they have the right to ask you for a sample, either breath, blood or urine. If you don’t do it, you will be charged with failure to provide a specimen – even if the police end up confirming that you were, in fact, not driving the vehicle.

I Refused to Take the Breathalyser, But I Would Have Given a Blood/Urine Sample. Is There Anything I Can Do?

Unfortunately, you do not get to choose which type of sample you provide. If the police ask you for a breath sample, and you refuse, but tell them that you are willing to provide a blood or urine sample, you will still be found guilty of failing to provide a specimen.

The Police Took My Sample While I Was Unconscious. Can They Do That?

The answer is yes. However, they cannot use it unless they have your consent – they will usually ask for it once you regain consciousness. If you do not give consent, you will be found guilty of failing to allow the police to use the sample, which amounts to the same things as failing to provide a specimen.

What Sentence Could I Face?

The sentence you can receive for failing to provide a specimen would be similar to those given for driving after consuming excess alcohol levels. Sentencing is determined by the Magistrates’ Court. It is important to note that a prison sentence will be considered if you have committed a second driving offence within the last ten years.

If you are prosecuted for failing to provide a specimen, you could potentially be faced with:

  • A prison sentence of up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to £5,000 – even if it’s your first offence depending on the circumstances
  • A minimum driving disqualification of 12 months
  • A potential community service sentence
  • Higher insurance rates on your vehicle

A strong case could ensure that you do not face these punishments. Therefore, it is in your best interests to contact a Cartwright King solicitor who will help build the strongest possible case for your defence.

Is There a Difference in Sentence Between Failing to Provide a Sample at the Roadside and at the Police Station?

Yes – a big one even. Usually, when you fail to provide a sample at the roadside, you will receive four penalty points and a fine. On the other hand, failing to provide a sample at the police station can even result in 6 months of imprisonment and a driving ban of 12 months.

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