The police say I’ve been drinking and driving. What are my rights?
Question & AnswerThe police say I’ve been drinking and driving. What are my rights?
1. Give the police a breath sample
The police can demand that you take a roadside breath test even if they don't have any reason to suspect that you've been drinking alcohol. You must provide a breath sample when the police demand one. You don't have the right to talk to a lawyer before taking a roadside breath test. You don't have the right to refuse a roadside breath test.
Refusing to provide a breath sample is a criminal . If you refuse a breath test, you will be charged with refusing to comply with a police demand. A court will decide whether you had a reasonable excuse for refusing. It's hard to show a reasonable excuse.
If you're found guilty of refusing to provide a breath sample, you will be sentenced to a minimum $2000 fine and a 1 year driving for a first offence. A second offence has a minimum punishment of 30 days in jail.
So if the police ask for a roadside breath sample, it's best to give them one.
A roadside breath test will give 3 possible results:
To get a pass, you must have less than 50 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of your blood. If you get a pass, you're usually free to go.
If you get warn or fail, your licence will be given an automatic administrative suspension for 3 to 90 days. If you're later of an offence related to the operation of a motor vehicle, you will get a minimum 1 year license suspension for a first offence. How long your license is suspended depends on the results of your tests, and whether you've been suspended due to a breath test or breathalyzer test in the past. And, you may have to go to the police station to take a breathalyzer test.
If you're not able to provide a breath sample, the police may take a blood sample. For example, if you are in an accident and unconscious. Or if you are unable to provide a breath sample because of a respiratory illness. Your blood sample is used to determine the concentration of alcohol in your blood.
Standardized Field Sobriety Test
You may also be asked to do a Standardized Field Sobriety Test at the roadside or within 3 hours of operating a motor vehicle. This test includes physical co-ordination exercises. For example, you may be asked to stand on one leg or walk in a straight line. This test is meant to check whether your ability to drive has been impaired by alcohol.
You don't have the right to talk to a lawyer before doing a Standardized Field Sobriety Test. You don't have the right to refuse a Standardized Field Sobriety Test.