To Blow Or Not To Blow That Is The Question – What To Do When You Get Asked For A Breathalyzer?

Bottle of beer in a man's hands driving the car during daytime

Navigating the request for a breathalyzer test can be daunting, especially with recent changes in enforcement practices. As of April 1st 2024 RCMP in Saskatchewan will be administering a breathalyzer at every traffic stop, and this will be the practice used on an ongoing basis and Ontario is not far behind. The OPP announced last week that they can ask for a breathalyzer at any traffic stop in the GTA.

As of 2018 a change in the Criminal Code has allowed for mandatory alcohol screening for any driver of a motor vehicle without the need for reasonable suspicion in Saskatchewan was this done in an effort to make the roads safer or a display of unjustified power, either way you need to know your rights when asked to submit to a breathalyzer in Ontario. In Ontario, under the Criminal Code, if an officer has reasonable grounds to suspect alcohol impairment while operating a vehicle, they can demand a breath sample. But can you refuse? Legally, yes, you can decline. However, refusal carries consequences. It’s vital to grasp that refusing a breath test constitutes a criminal offense and can result in penalties akin to failing the
test.

Can you say no to this demand? Unlike situations requiring legal representation, roadside breathalyzer tests don’t afford the right to consult a lawyer beforehand. Although police aren’t obligated to permit legal counsel, they must outline the ramifications of refusal. If subjected to further testing at a station or medical facility, you retain the right to legal consultation.

An easy rule to follow in this situation is, do not refuse to take a breath test. It is a criminal offense. While it is easy to assume that denying the test will result in less evidence being able to be put forth, refusing it will be just as damaging as a failed test.

Unlike in other situations where you find yourself needing a criminal lawyer, when asked for a breath sample you do not have the right to call your lawyer first. The police do not need to allow you to consult with a lawyer but they do need to inform you of the consequences of refusing the test. While you cannot consult a lawyer for a roadside test, if you find yourself being asked to submit to further testing at a police station or a medical building you have the right to consult a lawyer.

Refusing to Provide a Sample

There are two categories of penalties you can face if you fail to provide a sample. A Highway
Traffic Act penalty and a Criminal Code penalty. If you refuse the test or fail the test it can carry
varied punishments,examples being;

 

● Fines
● License suspension
● Vehicle impounding

 

● Imprisonment
● Mandatory Interlocutory Device

What to do if You Are Charged With Impaired Driving or Over 80?

The sentences for impaired driving and driving at over 80 increase according to the number of convictions on your record. You may receive a fine according to your results: ● 80mg to 110mg reading: $1000 fine (minimum) ● 120mg to 150mg reading: fine of $1500 (minimum) ● 160mg or over reading: fine of $2000 (minimum)

What to do if you are charged with Impaired Driving or Over 80 ?
The sentences for impaired driving and driving at over 80 increase according to the number of
convictions on your record. You may receive a fine according to your results:
● 80mg to 110mg reading: $1000 fine (minimum)
● 120mg to 150mg reading: fine of $1500 (minimum)
● 160mg or over reading: fine of $2000 (minimum)
How Can an Attorney Help with Over 80 charges?
Seeking legal counsel, can be instrumental in navigating these charges and striving for the best
possible outcome. Contact Sondhi Defence today to access expert advice and assistance with any
criminal defense matter, including impaired driving charges.

Get In Touch

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence, call us right away at 416-706-9084 and get our team on your side. 

Empowering Voices: Inside the Victim Witness Assistance Program

Empowering Voices: Inside the Victim Witness Assistance Program

Understanding the Victim/Witness Assistance Program: The Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) is dedicated to providing vital information, help, and support to victims and witnesses of crime, including children. This program aims to enhance their understanding and...

Key Role of Title Insurance for Ontario Real Estate Transactions

Key Role of Title Insurance for Ontario Real Estate Transactions

Key Role of Title Insurance for Ontario Real Estate Transactions: Shielding Homeowners from Financial Losses Title insurance is an essential component in protecting homeowners and lenders in Ontario from potential financial setbacks related to property title issues....