GQS Solicitors

Failing To Provide

The police have a general power to stop any vehicle on the road. However, they do not have the power to conduct random roadside tests. To do this they must have reasonable grounds (i.e. a suspicion or belief).  An officer may have reasonable grounds if:

  • The motorist commits a moving traffic offence (jumping a red light, driving erratically, etc)
  • The motorist is involved in a road traffic collision
  • The motorist is displaying signs of intoxication/impairment (glazed eyes, slurred speech, etc).

If the roadside officer has reasonable grounds to, he may ask you to preliminary specimen (breath or saliva test), or he may arrest you immediately under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (for driving whilst unfit). The purpose of the arrest is to obtain a more accurate specimen from you at the police station.

Many police forces hold random stop checks, particularly over the festive season. If the circumstances would not give the officer reasonable grounds to suspect or believe that alcohol or some drug had been consumed, this may render your arrest unlawful. It’s also worth noting that the officer making the requirement for you to provide a roadside test must be in full police uniform.

If you have been charged with failing to provide a specimen you will now be facing the prospect of attending court. No doubt you will be extremely worried about the court process and what will happen to you. You may be thinking of pleading guilty or you may be wondering if there is any possibility of defending the charge. Either way it is vital that you obtain professional advice and consider all your options.

Failing to Provide: Penalties

The penalty for a failing to provide allegation can range from 10 points on your licence to a prison sentence, depending on the circumstances of the offence and the impairment level of the individual. If convicted, it can often mean:

  • Loss of licence for a minimum of 12 months
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Branded a ‘High Risk Offender’
  • Loss of job
  • A criminal record
  • A DVLA medical before your licence is returned
  • VISA and possible travel restrictions
  • Attendance on the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course
  • Possible custodial sentence

Sentencing Guidelines

It’s important to understand that pleading guilty is not your only option. In fact, there could be a number of options available to you, depending on the exact circumstances of your case. Please see the table below for the sentencing guidelines used by the Magistrates Court for the offence of failing to provide a specimen.

Nature of activityStarting pointRangeDisqualificationDisqualification 2nd offence in 10 years
 Moderate level of impairment and no aggravating factorBand C fineBand  C fine 12 – 16 months36 – 40 months
Moderate level of impairment and one or more aggravating factorsBand C fineBand C fine17  -22 months36 – 46 months
High level of impairment and no aggravating factors Medium level community orderlow level community order to high level community order23  -28 months36 – 52 months
High level of impairment and one or more aggravating factors12 weeks custodyHigh level community order to 26 weeks custody29 – 36 months36 – 60 months

Reasonable Excuse

Failing to provide a specimen is a serious offence, which is why the knowledge and expertise of a specialist solicitor is recommended. It’s crucial that we consider why you failed to provide, and build your defence around that. If your failure was reasonable, you may have a full defence. This is known as reasonable excuse. Here at GQS Solicitors, we have won many ‘failing to provide’ cases over the years by raising a reasonable excuse. Below is a list of just some of the ways that a defence could be raised:

  • A physical injury (e.g. bruised or broken jaw, dental issue, etc)
  • A blocked or defective intoxilyzer mouthpiece
  • A fault with the device (even if not apparent at the police station)
  • A lack of understanding or a mental incapacity (even if ‘brought on’ by alcohol)
  • A genuine phobia
  • Confusion, depression, anxiety, incomprehension, mental stress, etc
  • A procedural error

There’s a chance that you may have a reasonable excuse defence without knowing it. If you do, and your defence is successful, the court will not convict you.

GQS Solicitors will be able to identify and develop a personalised defence strategy for your case, which is typically done before the first court hearing. This allows us to safeguard your position, and advise you in clear detail from the outset. Our team is made-up of senior solicitors, barristers and expert witnesses.

By pleading ‘not guilty’ to failing to provide, you force the CPS to prepare its case and present the evidence. Most prosecution areas have huge difficulties correctly preparing cases, warning witnesses and presenting evidence. This is mainly due to;

  • cuts in Government funding
  • an increased workload
  • the creation of new offences
  • miscommunication between the police and CPS

Whatever the reason, if the CPS fail to serve evidence, you should not be convicted.

Pleading ‘Guilty’ to Failing to Provide

The entire criminal justice system relies on guilty pleas. By pleading guilty, you are accepting that the entire police investigation – the collection & preservation of evidence – from start to finish was correct, without checking the evidence. So why would you? We’ve already established that the length of disqualification will not increase if later found guilty. In our view, there is far more to gain by exploring the technicalities of your case, and checking all evidence. You might be surprised to find that it doesn’t exist.

Even if you are still considering entering a guilty plea, M.A.J. Law can help. By highlighting recent case law, we may be able to convince the CPS to give you 10 points, rather than a mandatory disqualification. Whatever your decision, our team will use their expertise to secure the best possible outcome in your case.

Any initial advice we give is completely free of charge. You may also want to learn more about special reasons and mitigation, as they could be applicable in your case. Our team of specialist solicitors have the knowledge, experience and expertise to help you build a successful defence, and achieve the best possible result.

The Cost of Failing to Provide

GQS Solicitors are completely transparent about our fixed fee pricing structure and any potential costs that might be incurred throughout the case, so please don’t be afraid to ask. Our quoted fixed fees will not change, even if the case becomes more complicated than originally anticipated. Over the years, our team of specialist solicitors have built long-lasting, honest and trustworthy relationships with our clients. This has helped us become the leading motoring defence solicitors in the UK. 

GQS Solicitors also employs a number of Cost Recovery Administrators who will process your Defence Costs Order immediately. This allows you to claim back your costs from the Central Funds Office of the Government (subject to assessment).

What to do next

If you’ve been accused of failing to provide a specimen – whether one of blood, breath or urine – then your next step is to find the right legal team. There are a number of factors that can define what makes a solicitor ‘right’ for you, for instance:

  • A specialist in motoring law
  • In depth knowledge of drink & drug driving law
  • Experience & success in similar cases
  • Evidence of case victories & testimonials
  • Weekend availability
  • Connections with specialist barristers and expert witnesses
  • Fixed prices, and no initial charge for advice

If the solicitor you’re considering is lacking in any of the above areas, then it could be beneficial to explore other options.

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