Impaired Driving

Refuse or Fail to Provide Breath Sample

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is an offence to Refuse to Comply with a Valid Screening Device or Breath Test Demand.  This means that if a police officer makes a demand for you to provide a breath sample, or blow into a screening device, and you do not comply, you may be charged criminally under cc. 254(5).  However there are many defences available to a refuse or fail to provide breath sample charge.

For the court to find you guilty, the Crown prosecutor must prove that the failure to provide a suitable breath sample was intentional.

The consequences of a conviction for Refuse / Fail to Blow are the same as being convicted of Impaired or Over 80.  In addition to skyrocketing insurance rates, a fine imposed by the courts, and the minimum one-year driving prohibition, you may end up with a criminal record, and your ability to work, travel, or stay in Canada (if not a citizen) may be in jeopardy.  However, there are a number of defences to a refusal charge and the approach used to defend against this charge will depend on the circumstances. For example, there may be issues as to whether the machine was in working order or whether the breath demand was valid.  The police have to comply with certain requirements in order for a breath demand (for either the roadside screening device or the approved instrument at the police station) to be valid.  If those requirements have not been met, then the request, or demand, is invalid and you were then not required to comply with an invalid demand. In situations where there is not an outright verbal refusal to blow, it may be argued that an intentional failure to provide a sample is not the only reasonable inference to be drawn from the evidence.

Charges involving refusal to comply with a valid screening are complex and require significant experience with Impaired Driving defence.  Before opening his private practice, Norm Stanford trained and practiced almost exclusively in the area of Criminal driving defences.  He has had success defending clients on these charges throughout Ontario.  When faced with the consequences of a criminal record, you owe it to yourself to get solid, proven advice before proceeding.  Do not plead guilty without speaking to a lawyer.  Norm Stanford offers free consultations and defends Refuse to Comply and other impaired driving and criminal charges primarily in Toronto, Newmarket, Oshawa, Brampton, Barrie, and Hamilton.  In certain situations, the office may represent clients in Ottawa, Kingston, and Thunder Bay.