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Is it legal to decline a Breathalyzer Test?

By November 6, 2019 Breathalyzer

If a police officer pulls you over under the suspicion that you are an impaired driver, they’re going to ask to see more than just your license and registration. Alcohol screening is one of the best tools officers have at their disposal to determine if someone has been driving under the influence. In order to do this, they need to get a breath sample from the driver. If you’ve ever found yourself in this position (or not) — you’ve probably wondered if it’s legal to decline a test by a Breathalyzer machine . Although an officer cannot physically force you to provide a breath sample in Canada, refusing to do so will result in serious consequences.

When can an officer demand a Breathalyzer machine test?

In December 2018, changes to Canada’s criminal code made it so officers who lawfully pull a driver over no longer need reasonable grounds to demand a breath sample. Prior to the change, an officer needed reasonable suspicion — the smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath, slurred speech, or strange behavior — before requesting a breathalyzer test. According to Nova Scotia RCMP Constable Chad Morrison, “If an officer is roadside with a vehicle, they … automatically have the authority to make a demand to any driver to provide a sample of their breath.”

What are the consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test?

Under Canada’s new impaired driving laws, refusing an officer’s request to provide a breath sample carries severe penalties. You will face criminal charges, with penalties similar to an impaired driving conviction. These include:

  • Loss of driver’s license for at least one year
  • A fine of $1,000 to $2,000
  • Mandatory alcohol and DUI counseling

Why Breathalyzer machine tests are now mandatory

Canada’s new impaired driving laws have received criticism for casting too wide a net, the intention behind it is to save lives. The best thing you can do is act responsibly. Since police can now ask patrons suspected of driving under the influence for breath samples from a Breathalyzer at home, bars and restaurants, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of your alcohol consumption.

At Not Your Child Corp., we believe in having an open and honest conversation about the consequences of impaired driving. Breathalyzers are an important tool for keeping our roads safe, not only for ourselves, but for our young drivers and children. Give us a call today to find out more about our innovative products, such as our Breathalyzer machine for car use.