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Failure to provide a specimen

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Failure to provide a specimen

Failure to provide a specimen



We know how daunting the threat of losing your licence can be and the frustration of trying to navigate the confusing legal world surrounding failure to provide is.  For 16 years , our specialist team at Parnell and Peel has been dealing with drink and drug driving offences, helping thousands of motorists stay on the road.

We not only believe in providing you with exemplary legal representation but also reassurance through educating you on your options, defences, outcomes, and all the legal jargon that entails your case.

If you have been charged with failure to provide, contact us now at 0330 341 1690.


What is failure to provide?



Failure to provide references is a driving offence where the motorist has refused to provide a sample of breath, blood, or urine for analysis. Many motorists believe there is a piece of special legislation stating the police can't conduct a drug test or request a breathalyser sample; unfortunately, there isn't. If the police have “reasonablesuspicion, they can and will. Non-compliance in regards to the testing procedure will consequently result in your being charged with failure to provide.


The Road Traffic Act 1988 states:



"In the course of an investigation into whether a person has committed an offence under Sections 3A, 4, or 5 of this Act, a constable may require him to :

provide two specimens of breath for analysis by means of a device of a type approved by the Secretary of State.


         provide a specimen of blood or urine for a laboratory test.

Section 6 of the Act states that failure to do so without reasonable excuse is an offence.

A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to provide a specimen when required to do so in pursuance of this section is guilty of an offence.


Preliminary vs Evidential testing


Failure to provide offences can be split up into two categories: evidential and preliminary. Once you are stopped by the police you will be asked to provide a preliminary sample this being the roadside breathalyser. You may also be asked to walk forward in a straight line and do activities of similar nature. If the reading is above the prescribed alcohol limit, then you will be taken back to the police station and undergo the evidential breath test procedure. You will be required to provide two samples of breath for analysis, and the police will use the lower of the two. Instead of a breath sample, you may be asked to provide a sample of blood for analytical testing.


It is important to note that the preliminary breathalyser is not admissible as evidence in court.


Failure to provide the preliminary breath test 

It is extremely important to note that failure to provide the preliminary breath test is considered an offence under Section 6 of the Road Traffic Act. The consequences of failing to provide the roadside breath sample can be either :

  • A fine 
  • or 4 penalty points.

Under most circumstances, the court will exercise its discretion and not issue a driving disqualification. If you have failed to provide the preliminary breath test. Contact us now at 0330 341 1690 .


Failure to provide the evidential breath test


After the police have conducted the preliminary breath test, you will be taken back to the police station and requested to provide two samples of breath for analysis. If you fail to provide a specimen at the police station without a reasonable excuse, this is an offence under Section 7 of the Road Traffic Act of 1988.

Prior to the evidential breath test you may be breathalysed at the roadside but in other cases the police may just require the evidential sample at the police station. Although the sample is usually collected at the police station, it may also be conducted at a hospital if you have been involved in an accident.


 Penalties for failing to provide an evidential sample (police station)


If you are convicted of failure to provide, you will be subject to a mandatory 12-month minimum driving disqualification, but if you have been convicted of any drink-driving-related offences in the last 10 years, the mandatory disqualification will increase from 12-months to 36-months.


Depending on the severity of your case, the penalties may vary. You could receive:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least one year
  • 10 penalty points.


In charge of a vehicle?



If the police had not caught you driving and the evidence points to you being stopped when stationary, it could be argued that your case is an “in charge of a motor vehicle" case. If you are caught in charge of a motor vehicle, the disqualification you face could be reduced to less than a year, or you could face only 10 points on your licence. Contact us now at  0330 341 1690 if you believe you have grounds for being in charge of a motor vehicle offence.


What is considered a reasonable excuse?



Failure to provide is an offence with one caveat, which is a reasonable excuse to do so. There are a number of reasonable excuses you could argue before the magistrates to reduce or avoid a disqualification and penalties. Examples of these could be:

  • Medical reasons: You may have asthma or fear of needles preventing you from providing a sample. As long as your condition is verified by a medical professional, you could put forward medical reasons before the magistrates.


  • Mental health : If you suffer from any mental health conditions similar to medical reasons this could also be put forward in your case .


  • Procedural errors: we find time and time again that procedural errors such as not providing a statutory warning are evident. If argued successfully in court, this would lead to the acquittal of the charges.


  • Technical errors: the breathalysers used to conduct testing must be accurately calibrated prior to ensuring the validity of the testing. In many cases, we find that due to the time-sensitive nature of drink driving offences, this aspect is often overlooked. If argued correctly, technical errors present within the testing procedure could result in the acquittal of charges.


Reducing your disqualification



If you have already been convicted of failure to provide and the court is imposing a sentence of more than 12 months, it is worth noting that participation in a drink-driving rehabilitation course could reduce the disqualification enforced by 25%. For more information on Drink Driving rehabilitation courses please visit here .


Why Parnell and Peel?


At Parnell and Peel, we have been specialising in drink driving-related matters for over 16 years with a specialist team of advocates and solicitors. When it comes to failure to provide, you've come to the right people. Boasting an extensive track record and helping thousands of motorists to keep their licences over the years, we've built up an extensive understanding of failure to provide offences you simply wouldn't encounter in a duty or general crime solicitor.

We know how frustrating the legal procedure can be surrounding failure to provide and the shock you may face when charged. Our clients receive an emergency out-of-hours phone number to call us whenever, whether to seek legal advicetouch base on their case,  or for emotional support in the hard times they face. We're here to help.

We also don't entrap you with hidden legal fees and contracts. We offer a one-time fixed fee that can be split up into interest-free instalments and is flexible up until the date of your first hearing. For a free legal consultation and to assess your options in regards to your failure to provide offence, contact us now at 0330 341 1690 .