A criminal offense charge stemming from failure or refusal to provide a breath sample carries with it the same penalties as an “over .80” or impaired driving offense. These penalties include a criminal record, a mandatory fine, a driving supervision, and much higher insurance fees.

There are several defenses that may be employed to fight a charge for refusing to provide a sample. You will need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer in a timely manner in order to review your case and determine the best possible option for the defense of your case.

Invalid Demand

For police to make a ‘valid demand’ for a breath sample, they must closely align their actions with the requirements outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada. If the requirements are not followed, the demand for a breath sample may be considered ‘invalid’.

If it is determined that the demand for a sample was invalid, it is held that you were not required to comply with the demand. Subsequently, you cannot be found guilty of an offense.

Refusal to Blow Was Not Unequivocal

For The Crown to maximize their chances of getting a conviction, they must prove that the refusal to provide a sample was unequivocal, or unmistakable. At first-glance your refusal to provide a sample might appear to be quite explicit.

However, upon further review, this seemingly explicit refusal can be tainted by a multitude of other factors. Some of these factors include misunderstanding the consequences of a refusal or having a reasonable excuse not to provide the sample.

Reasonable Excuse Not to Provide a Sample

In the past there have been many examples of circumstances in which the courts have found that an individual had a ‘reasonable excuse’ not to provide a sample. Both temporary or permanent health issues can prevent an individual from providing an adequate sample.

Mistreatment of the accused by a police officer can also be used as grounds to have your impaired driving charge dismissed. If you can prove that officers, at some point, mistreated the accused during the breath testing procedure, you may also prove that this mistreatment weighed heavily on your mind and prevented you from providing a suitable breath sample in compliance with officers’ demands.

In the event that you find yourself charged with failure or refusal to provide a breath sample, you need assistance! Locate, contact, and consult with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to thoroughly review all of the circumstances surrounding your arrest.