What is a valid excuse for failing to provide a specimen?
The law calls these reasonable excuses and there are only a handful of categories that include:
- You weren’t driving, in charge of the vehicle or intending to drive
- The officer hasn’t advised the reason for a specimen is that you’re under suspicious of being under the influence of drink or drugs. Under these circumstances you can refuse the test
- You have a valid medical reason to refuse to provide a specimen
It’s worth noting that even if you’ve got a valid reason for failing to provide a specimen, you can still be charged with the offence. However, it’s likely there would be no penalty attached.
And you don’t have to have a life-threatening illness to refuse to provide a specimen. Everyday illnesses can dictate whether you’re able to, for example:
- Asthma sufferers, people who suffer from panic attacks or those who have low lung capacity may find it difficult if not impossible to complete a breathalyser test
- A fear of needles may mean you cannot give a blood sample
- And urinary tract infections or prostate issues may mean you cannot provide a urine sample
You should be mindful of using these excuses however. It’s not enough to simply say that you suffer from one of these issues, as the police can request an alternative sample. For example, if you fail to provide a specimen by breathalyser and claim you have asthma but have no recorded medical history as an asthma sufferer, this would be a weak defence. Furthermore, the police officer may simply request a blood or urine sample.
As with everything, your defence will only be as strong as the evidence that sits behind it.