Failure to provide evidential specimens

Failure to provide evidential specimens (blood/breath/urine)

Failing to provide a specimen is seen by the courts as an extremely serious offence and is treated as severely as drink driving.

 If the police suspect you of being drunk in charge or drink driving, they are entitled to require you to provide a specimen (usually of breath) for analysis.  This is likely to be a two-stage process.  The first request is likely to be at the roadside, and if arrested and taken to the police station, the suspect is then required to provide a further specimen of either breath, blood or urine.

 A failure or refusal to provide a specimen without a reasonable excuse is an offence and can lead to a prison sentence.

 As with all alcohol offences, the procedures in the police station are crucial to any case. Any failure by the Police to follow the strict procedures in place can be fatal to any prosecution.

 If you can prove that you had a reasonable excuse to refuse or to fail to provide a specimen, then you may have a defence.  An example of a reasonable excuse would be medical reasons preventing you from being able to provide a specimen.  In such cases, medical evidence will be required to be presented to the Court.

 The following may constitute to you having a defence in certain circumstances and may be deemed as reasonable excuse to refuse or to fail to provide a specimen, that you could rely upon as having a defence

 A phobia of needles

 If a blood test is requested by police, a reasonable excuse for not complying could be a genuine phobia of needles.

 Police behaviour

 Failure in the testing of equipment or following proper procedures by the police may also mean the case will not go to court or can be contested. Equally, the police must, after asking someone to take a test, explain that failure to do so may lead to prosecution. If this warning is not given, the driver will not have committed an offence. 

A mental health condition

 This may be a pre-existing condition, or one brought about by the circumstances of the situation.

 If you were not the driver of the vehicle concerned, it is not a defence to refuse or fail to provide a specimen.  Drivers are still under a duty to provide a specimen and are guilty of an offence if they refuse to do so.


The Penalties

 The maximum penalties depend on the circumstances of the offence-


  • If you were driving a vehicle, the offence will attract-
  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • Community order
  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • A disqualification for at least 12 months.

For a second offence within ten years, the minimum disqualification is 3 years.