A common question that a client asks us is “Should I provide a breath sample?” What happens is when the police suspect or feel that you are impaired driving, they are going to demand a breath sample, they might demand a roadside sample, that’s the screening test or they might also demand a breath sample at the police station. That’s the Intoxilyzer test. This is a very loaded question but for most situations, in fact, I would give advice all situations, unless you are an expert in impaired driving, and I will explain what I mean by this, you should absolutely, always provide the breath sample. If you refuse or fail to comply with a breath sample at the roadside, or at the police station, the police are going to charge you with that crime that is failing to provide a breath sample, or failing to comply, and the penalty is actually a two thousand dollars fine for a first offence, a criminal conviction and one year licence prohibition which is very similar, it’s actually identical to the penalties for impaired driving. In fact, the two thousand dollar fine in certain situations is higher.
Now, what do I mean by, if you are an expert? Well there are some very narrow exceptions to this. Sometimes it pays to refuse, and but the only person who would know that if you are an absolute expert in impaired driving. If you are, a situation arose where, oh boy, the police officer has done something wrong, I know this is being videotaped for example, in the breath room, I know that I can refuse it, and win this case. The only people that are going know that are lawyers, who specialize in impaired driving. So for the lay person and anyone unless you are an absolute expert, always provide a breath sample and even ninety-nine percent, a situation for a lawyer is charged, is specialized in this, they are going to provide a breath sample because that narrow exception is probably not going to arise. So be very careful in this situation, comply with the demand absolutely, because there’s more defences typically when you provide the sample and you blow over, they can create defences which could potentially win on. So that’s the short answer to whether you should provide a breath sample at the roadside or at the police station.