Section 7(6) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes It an offence to fail, without reasonable excuse to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis when required to do so by an officer.

Falling fowl of the above law and being charged with failure to provide a specimen is a serious offence, for which you could face a fine, minimum 12-month disqualification from driving and even a prison sentence. Please see the sentencing guidelines for further details.

Drivers who are charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis have usually been required to blow into an evidential breathalyser machine but been unable or unwilling to do so. It is also possible to fail to provide a specimen of blood or urine.

Reasonable excuse

You cannot be convicted of failing to provide a sample for analysis if you had a reasonable excuse for failing to provide the sample.

The wording of the law itself provides for this statutory defence.

There are many potential reasonable excuses which could result in you being found not guilty of failing to provide a specimen. You might not know if you have a “reasonable excuse”. That’s where we come in.

Having defended countless failure to provide allegations across the Country, we are experts in identifying where a possible reasonable excuse could exist.

A reasonable excuse, in law, must arise out of a physical or mental inability to provide a specimen, and there usually needs to be some form of evidence to support the defence. There must also be a causal link between the physical or mental condition and the failure to provide the specimen. For example, it would not be enough to say you have asthma; you must be able to show that your asthma was the cause of being unable to satisfy the requirements of the breathalyser machine. We are usually able to establish this causal link by obtaining supportive evidence form medical professionals and experts at the top of their field.

Here are just a few examples of reasonable excuses which we have identified for our clients, and which have been successful in Court. The below examples either resulted in our client’s being found not guilty at trial, or the case was dropped by the CPS after receiving our evidence:

  • PTSD
  • Panic attack/anxiety
  • Stress
  • Phobia of needles
  • Confusion
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Breathing difficulties including asthma, reduced lung capacity, hypersensitive airways
  • Being unable to understand the procedure

There are many other defences to failing to provide a specimen, such as whether the correct procedure was followed, whether the breathalyser was working properly at the time, and whether the correct instructions were issued to you.

We can help

If you have been charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis and would like our specialist driving offence solicitors to look into the details of your case, call 0330 33 22 770 for free initial legal advice. Our expert motoring lawyers are usually able to identify potential defences right from the very first phone call and take great pleasure in knowing that our advice could be crucial in saving your driving licence. We look forward to hearing from you.