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Police Breathalyser Procedure
Evidential Alcohol Breath Testing Police Procedure
DVLA Endorsement Code: DR30 (fail to provide while driving or attempting to drive)
A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to provide an evidential specimen for analysis while driving or attempting to drive a vehicle (failure includes refusal) is guilty of an offence which is punishable by a fine and a mandatory minimum driving disqualification of 12 months. Other sentencing options are available such as community orders and in extreme circumstances a prison sentence.
Anyone convicted of failing to provide an evidential specimen for analysis will be classed as a high risk offender.
Evidential Alcohol breath testing
Once a person has been arrested for an alcohol related motoring offence, the police will require that person to provide two evidential specimens of breath for analysis by means of an evidential breath testing device type approved by the Secretary of State OR to provide a specimen of blood or urine for a laboratory test.
The type of evidential specimen that is required whether it be breath, blood or urine will depend upon the circumstances. However, it will usually be an evidential breath specimen that will be required, unless certain circumstances apply.
Evidential Breath specimens
A person suspected of an alcohol related motoring offence will be required to provide two evidential specimens of breath. The breath specimen reading with the lower proportion of alcohol will be used as prosecution evidence (if above the legal limit) and the other reading will be discarded.
Before commencing an evidential breath test, a police officer will ask the suspect:
"Have you in the last twenty minutes:
If a suspect has done any of the above then 20 minutes must be waited since the time of the event before the evidential alcohol breath test is performed.
If a suspect has been exposed to CS or pepper spray then 30 minutes must be waited since the time of exposure before the evidential alcohol breath test is performed.
Breath specimen requirement
Once a suspect is deemed ready to take an evidential alcohol breath test the police officer will state the following requirement:
“I require you to provide two specimens of breath for analysis by means of an approved device. The specimen with the lower proportion of alcohol in your breath may be used as evidence and the other will be disregarded. I warn you that failure to provide either of these specimens will render you liable to prosecution. Do you agree to provide two specimens of breath for analysis ?” **
A suspect must agree to take the evidential alcohol breath test. If they refuse to do so they will be issued a final warning.
“I warn you again that failure to provide either of these specimens will render you liable to prosecution. Do you now agree to provide two specimens of breath for analysis?” **
If a suspect refuses to provide a specimen of breath after this final warning the police officer will ask if there are any medical reasons why they cannot or should not provide two specimens of breath as required.
If a suspect agrees to provide a specimen of breath for analysis, the evidential alcohol breath testing procedure will commence. The suspect will be instructed on how to provide the two samples of breath required. If a suspect fails to provide two samples of breath as required and as instructed by the police officer they will be asked once again if there are any medical reasons why they cannot provide the samples of breath as required.
All type approved evidential breath testing devices are designed to allow a suspect 3 minutes in which to provide a sufficient sample of breath.
If a suspect cannot or will not provide an evidential breath specimen as required, they will be asked if there are any medical reasons why they cannot or should not provide a breath specimen.
If a suspect states there are medical reasons for not providing a breath specimen as required, then the police officer can request an evidential blood or urine sample instead.
If a suspect states there are no medical reasons why they cannot provide a specimen of breath but the police officer making the requirement has reasonable cause to believe there are actually medical reasons, then a police officer can request an evidential blood or urine sample instead.
If a suspect does not state any medical reasons and the police officer has no reasonable cause to believe there are medical reasons for not providing a breath specimen as required, then there is no reasonable excuse why a breath specimen cannot be provided and the suspect will be charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
The police officer is entitled to rely on any answer given by the suspect unless it is obvious that such medical reasons exist.
Evidential alcohol breath test results
The course of action taken after the breath test has been carried out will depend on the results of the breath test.
ALCOHOL BREATH TEST RESULT: 35 or below
ALCOHOL BREATH TEST RESULT: between 36 & 39
In serious cases, back calculation is considered (39 and below):
ALCOHOL BREATH TEST RESULT: between 40 & 50
ALCOHOL BREATH TEST RESULT: 51 or higher
BREATH TESTING DEVICE UNAVAILABLE
A copy of the evidential breath testing device printout will be offered to the accused in all cases where it is intended to adduce evidence of the proportion of alcohol in a person’s breath.
Evidential alcohol breath test evidence
Evidential breath testing machines produce printouts that are admissible as evidence in a court of law under s. 69 of (PACE) The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 .
Minor errors in the printing functions by these machines will not necessarily invalidate the evidence the machines provide as long as it can be proved that the analytical function of the machine was calibrated and it was otherwise in correct working order. Common evidential breath testing machines used by the police force in the UK are the Lion Intoximeter EC/IR, the Lion Intoxilyzer and the Camic Datamaster.