Failure or Refusal To Provide A Sample

It is a criminal offence to refuse to provide a breath sample to a valid screening test or breath test demand. If someone refuses or is unable to comply with the demand, they may be charged with this criminal offences. This offence carries the same penalties as blowing over .80 or being impaired: a criminal record, a mandatory fine, a driving supervision, in addition to skyrocketed insurance fees.

Possible Defences:

There are many defences to refusing to provide a sample. Speak with a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible to review your file and build your best defence.

Invalid Demand:

The police must make a valid demand for a breath sample, which is only valid if the police follow the requirements listed in the Criminal Code of Canada. If the demand is invalid, you were not required to comply with the demand, and cannot be found guilty of an offence.

Refusal to blow was not unequivocal:

In order to get a conviction, the Crown must prove that the accused was unequivocally, or unmistakably, refusing to provide a sample. What can at first-glance seem like an explicit refusal to provide a sample may be tainted by other factors, such as misunderstanding the consequences of a refusal, and having a reasonable excuse not to provide the sample.

Reasonable excuse not to provide a sample:

Courts have found many circumstances in which an individual has reasonable excuse not to provide a sample. Some individuals may have health issues that prevented them from providing a suitable sample. These health issues may be temporary or permanent. In addition, if the police mistreated the accused throughout the breath testing procedure, this mistreatment may have played on the accused’s mind and prevented him or her from providing an adequate sample.

If you have been charged with a failure or refusal to provide a breath sample, consult a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible to review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and charge.

Please call 613.695.8595 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with Celine Dostaler.


Have you been accused or charged with a crime? Are you worried about losing your freedom, or a damaged reputation? losing your job? losing your family? going to jail?

Contact Céline Dostaler to schedule a free half-hour confidential consultation at:

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