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Do I have to give a bodily sample to the police?
Clear language definitions to common legal terms.
A bodily sample may include:
- a urine sample
- a blood sample
- a piece of hair
- a swab from the inside of your mouth
You must give the police a bodily sample if:
- they believe you have been drinking and driving and they can’t get a breath sample,
- they have a warrant that says you must give them a sample, or
- the court has ordered you to give them a sample.
The court may give the police a warrant to collect a bodily sample from you to do:
- a DNA profile to determine if you were at a crime scene,
- a blood alcohol concentration test to determine if you were driving while impaired
- to add the DNA data bank if you were convicted of a primary designated offence or secondary designated offence
If the police have a warrant to collect a bodily sample from you and you refuse, you may be charged with obstruction or assault, depending on the circumstances. The police can use as much force as necessary to get the bodily sample authorized by the warrant.
It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with a court order.
It is also a criminal offence to fail to comply with a demand for a breath sample if the police have reasonable grounds to believe you are drinking and driving.
When you can refuse
If the police don't have a warrant or court order that says you must give them a bodily sample, you don't have to agree to give them a sample. Talk to a lawyer right away if the police ask you to give them a bodily sample.
If you refuse to comply with a demand for a bodily sample when the police believe you have been driving while impaired, you can be charged criminally with failure to comply with a demand.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. It also protects you from being deprived unnecessarily of your life, liberty, and security. Taking bodily samples from a suspect without a warrant violates these rights.