Is failing to provide a breath-sample a criminal offence in Canada?

People often do not realize that refusing to provide a breath-sample is a criminal offence in Canada.   This includes both an outright refusal or deliberately providing improper samples.

What are the penalties for refusing to provide a breath-sample in Canada?

Failing to give a sample has the same penalties as other drinking and driving offences, such as for over 80 and impaired driving offences.  The minimum penalties for failing to provide a breath-sample under the Criminal Code include:

  1. A permanent conviction.
  2. A minimum 1-year Criminal Code driving ban.
  3. A minimum $1,000 fine.

Can breath-sample refusal charges be defended?

In April 2018, our client was found not guilty of refusing a roadside approved screening device test.  He was charged after failing to provide a proper sample four times, on two different roadside testing devices, and saying “I do not want to do this anymore.”

The police admitted at trial that they made mistakes in administering the roadside breath-sample .  The police admitted they were not aware of the error-codes the machine made.  The judge found that the police mistakes, combined with our client’s statement to the police that he
“did not want to do this anymore”, meant that his refusal was not unequivocal.

Ottawa Criminal Lawyer

Charged with drinking and driving in Ontario? Contact Ottawa criminal lawyer Brett McGarry to discuss the best defence for your case.

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