2. Give the police a breath sample

What are my rights if the police stop me when I'm driving?
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2. 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 offence. 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 prohibition 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:

  • pass
  • fail
  • warn

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 convicted of an offence related to the impaired 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.

A breathalyzer test is done with a different device than a roadside breath test. The breathalyzer test is much more reliable and sensitive. It includes a reading of your blood alcohol level.

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Ministry of Transportation Ontario
Reviewed: December 17, 2018

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