Refusing to Provide a Specimen

Specialist Motoring Offences Solicitor with over 35 years’ expertise in this area. Let me help you.

Paul Donnachie, Motoring Offences Solicitor

Paul Donnachie, Solicitor

In Scotland, the police are entitled to ask you for a specimen of breath, blood or urine to check whether or not you have been driving over the prescribed limit. You are not allowed to refuse this request without a reasonable excuse. If you do refuse, or you do not provide a sufficient sample of breath, you will likely face criminal charges.

If you have been charged with failing to provide a specimen, or with failing to provide a sufficient sample, please call us now on Freephone 0800 678 5167 or make a Free No Obligation Initial Enquiry today and let us explain your options.

“Although we live in the Highlands we had a minor motoring incident in Edinburgh and were subsequently , and in our view unfairly ,charged with two offences of which we were convinced we were innocent. We did not want to go to an Edinburgh solicitor because of the inconvenience of consultations in Edinburgh and the expense and Donnachie Law was recommended to us by our own solicitor in Edinburgh ,who did not do Road Traffic cases.

Despite the frustrations of dealing with our insurers (Saga) and the incompetence of the Procurator Fiscal service Paul Donnachie gave us an admirable service. He rigorously tested our arguments and did his best to guide us through the unfamiliar world of court procedures and give us confidence in presenting our case. When it finally came to trial almost a year after the alleged incident he spotted a procedural defect in the Crown case and secured a Not Guilty verdict on both counts without us having to give evidence. We could not have asked for better support or a better outcome.

Penalties for refusing to provide a specimen


If you refuse to provide a sample of breath at the roadside, you face a fine of up to £1,000 and discretionary disqualification or four penalty points.

Police station

If you refuse to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine at the police station after driving or attempting to drive, the penalties are the same as for drink-driving. A first-time offender faces a disqualification of at least 12 months and up to six months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000, or both. If special reasons are established, you will still face a fine of up to £5,000, but instead of disqualification the court can impose three to 11 penalty points.

If you were not driving or attempting to drive, the court can exercise its discretion when deciding whether or not to disqualify you. If you are not disqualified, the penalty points are set at 10. The court may also impose a sentence of up to three months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to £2,500, or both.

Refusing to provide a specimen

If the police stop you on suspicion of driving while over the prescribed limit, they will normally ask that you provide a specimen of breath – known more commonly as a breathalyser test or roadside breath test. If this test is positive you will be taken to the police station, where further tests will be required. The police can decide whether they would like a breath, blood or urine sample.

You are not allowed to refuse any of these tests without good reason, even if you offer to provide an alternative. For example, you might refuse a blood test but be willing to provide a urine test. However, the choice is not yours.

If you refuse a test (be it at the roadside or the police station) then you will be charged with failing to provide a specimen. This will also apply if you do not provide a sufficient amount of breath to register a reading. This is to prevent people from deliberately trying to skew the results.

How can we help?

If you have been charged with failing to provide a specimen, it will be necessary to explore the possible lines of defence open to you. Being found guilty of such an offence can have serious implications, so it is important to get advice from an experienced road traffic defence solicitor without delay.

At Donnachie Law we understand how concerned you will be about losing your licence and will do all in our power to get the best outcome possible. We can assess your case and consider how to proceed.

It might be that you have a medical condition that prevented you from providing a specimen, or prevented you from providing a sufficient specimen. If so, we can explain this to the court, presenting evidence to establish your defence. Or you may have another reasonable excuse, or special reasons may apply, meaning there are mitigating circumstances that explain your actions.

Whatever the situation, we can provide you with early legal advice. If we feel we cannot assist you, we will let you know at the start. If we believe, however, that we can successfully defend your case, we will act on your behalf, working hard to preserve your licence.

Contact us now

If you have refused to provide a specimen and are now facing criminal charges, please contact us now on Freephone 0800 678 5167 or complete our Free No Obligation Initial Enquiry.

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