Ottawa Breath Test Refusal Lawyer
You might already know that Canadian police can require you to take a breath test if they suspect you of drunk driving. What you may not know is that refusing a breathalyzer test in Ottawa is a crime — police can arrest you for failing to provide a breath sample.
Make no mistake — this is a serious situation. A wrong move could cost you your reputation and freedom. As a result, you need competent defence counsel immediately. At David Anber’s Law Office, our experienced legal team fights on behalf of Canadians just like you every day. We understand what is on the line in your case and we are ready to defend you rigorously. You can schedule a free, initial consultation to discuss your case with one of your veteran defence lawyers by calling 1-888-989-3946 or contacting us online.
What is a breath test?
A breathalyzer test is simple: you breath into an apparatus or bag, and the alcohol content in your breath is then analyzed and a reading is displayed. Police and other law enforcement agencies use breathalyzer tests to gauge a person’s blood alcohol level and degree of impaired driving. It is important for you to understand that police may ask you to take a breathalyzer test without “reasonable suspicion” that you may be impaired.
Instead, police may request a breathalyzer for the following reasons:
- They smell alcohol in your vehicle or on your breath
- Your speech is slurred or otherwise abnormal
- Your driving is erratic
- You tell the officer that you have been drinking
In the event that your case goes to trial, the prosecution must prove that the arresting officers had “probable cause” to arrest you for drunk driving.
Should you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, police cannot force you to do so. However, you will face immediate penalties for refusing — this applies regardless of whether you are under the legal blood alcohol limit.
When can police ask me for a sample of my breath?
In Ottawa and Quebec and throughout Canada, police may request a breath sample in two specific instances.
First, police may request that you provide a roadside breath sample via a handheld device called an Approved Screening Device. They may demand that you take the test based on reasonable suspicion that you are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Or they make demand that you take the roadside breath test with no grounds, known as a Mandatory Alcohol screening Demand.
Second, police may demand a breath sample be taken via a breathalyzer machine. This type of test is performed at the police station. The machine estimates the concentration of alcohol in your blood. Remember, failing to provide a demanded breath sample is a criminal offence in Canada.
Can I speak to a lawyer before providing a sample?
It depends on the details of your case. During a roadside stop, you are typically required to provide a breath sample into an Approved Screening Device without the need of a lawyer. However, you may have the right to speak to a lawyer if the office that stopped you has to wait for an Approved Screening Device to arrive at the scene to test you.
If police arrest you and bring to the police station and you are required to provide a sample of your breath into a breathalyzer machine, you have the right to speak with your defence counsel you before providing the sample. And rest assured, our legal team can examine your case to determine if your Charter rights have been violated in any way.
What are the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada?
The penalties you face for refusing a breathalyzer in Ottawa are identical to those for impaired driving or “over 0.08.” In most cases, you will not be able to consult with your lawyer until after you decide whether to take the roadside breath test.
If you refuse, your driver’s licence will be suspended immediately for up to 90 days, your vehicle will be impounded for seven days, and you will be charged with a crime under the Canadian criminal justice system.
The penalties for a first-time conviction include:
- Loss of driver’s licence for at least a year
- $1,000 – $2,000 fine
- Criminal record
- Mandatory alcohol and DUI counseling
Further, you will have a criminal record for at least 10 years and your insurance will likely increase.
Breathalyzer refusal defence
If you face charges for refusing to take a breathalyzer test, contact a skilled defence lawyer — you have options and your case is not open and shut. We frequently help clients throughout Ottawa and Quebec defend against breathalyzer charges with a wide range of strategies that include questioning:
- The behavior and conduct of the arresting officers during the stop and throughout the arrest process
- The accuracy of the equipment used by the arresting officer(s)
- Whether the arresting officer(s) received proper training on how to use and read the breathalyzer equipment
- Whether your Charter rights have been violated or not
- If you have been informed of your Charter rights and the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada
These are only a few examples of strategies we use. Depending on the nature of your case, we will devise a personalized strategy to meet your unique needs.
Ottawa breathalyzer defence lawyers protect your driving privilege
In Canada, refusing to take a breathalyzer test is a crime. At David Anber’s Law Office, we fight regularly to protect Canadians charged with this crime and other alcohol-related offences. Whether you are arrested for a first-time DUI or simply saying ‘no’ to a breath test, we are determined to help you fight back. To schedule a free consultation to speak with one of our experienced DUI defence lawyers, call us toll-free at 1-888-989-3946 or contact us online.