Loading...

What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Canada?

What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Canada

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Canada. One of the primary tools law enforcement officers use to detect impaired driving is the breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test measures the concentration of alcohol in the individual’s breath. 

So, what happens if you refuse a breathalyzer in Canada? When you refuse, it can be considered as a criminal offence. This article discusses the legal implications and consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada. I hope you will get an overall idea about the refusal of the breathalyzer in Canada. You will also learn about the fines or the process of regaining your license after refusing it. 

What is a Breathalyzer Test in Canada?

A breathalyzer test in Canada is a common method to determine if a driver is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The term “breathalyzer” is derived from the brand name of the device used for this purpose. In Canada, the proper term for the device is an ‘approved screening device’ or ASD.

The driver is asked to blow into the device during a breathalyzer test. It analyzes the breath sample for the presence of alcohol. The device measures the concentration of alcohol in the individual’s breath and provides a reading that indicates whether the driver’s blood alcohol concentration exceeds the legal limit. 

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Canada?

Individuals can refuse a breathalyzer test in Canada, but this right is not absolute. Though you can refuse, you may face significant legal consequences.

When a law enforcement officer suspects a driver of impaired driving, they have the authority to demand a breath sample. It helps to determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration. This demand is made during a roadside stop when an officer has reasonable grounds to believe the driver has consumed alcohol.

What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Canada?

Refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada can lead to immediate legal consequences. When a driver refuses to comply with a police officer’s lawful demand, they deny the authorities in assessing their level of impairment.

This refusal is considered a serious offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. The individual may face immediate consequences, such as being detained by law enforcement. These measures are intended to ensure public safety and prevent potentially impaired drivers.

Consequences for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

The consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada can be severe. Refusing to comply with a police officer’s lawful demand for a breath sample is considered a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. The consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test can include the following:

Criminal Charges

Refusing to comply with a lawful demand for a breathalyzer test can result in criminal charges. You may face fines, probation, or even imprisonment if convicted.

Administrative Penalties

Refusing a breathalyzer test can result in administrative penalties. The length of the suspension can vary depending on the province or territory in which the offence occurs.

Enhanced Penalties Upon Conviction

If you are later convicted of impaired driving, your refusal to take a breathalyzer test can result in enhanced penalties. This means that the fact of your refusal can be used against you in court. It can further lead to harsher consequences if you are found guilty of impaired driving.

Fine for Refusing Breathalyzer

The fine for refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada can vary depending on the circumstances of the offence and the province or territory in which it occurs. The fines for refusing a breathalyzer can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

In some jurisdictions, the fine for refusing a breathalyzer test may exceed the penalties for impaired driving. It regards refusal to comply with a lawful demand for a breath sample.

How Long is Your License Suspended for Refusing a Breathalyzer?

The length of a driver’s license suspension for refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada also varies depending on the province or territory. 

In some jurisdictions, the suspension period may be relatively short. In others, it can be much longer. The individuals may be required to participate in mandatory alcohol education programs or undergo other forms of rehabilitation.

How to Beat a Refusal of Breathalyzer?

Beating a refusal of a breathalyzer charge in Canada can be complex. There are strategies that individuals can employ with the help of a skilled professional.

Examining the traffic stop’s circumstances and subsequent requests for a breath sample is important. If there are doubts about the officer’s grounds for suspicion, these issues can be raised as potential defences.

Suppose the officer did not have reasonable grounds to suspect impairment or failed to follow proper procedures during the stop. In that case, it may be possible to challenge the validity of the demand for a breathalyzer test.

How to Get a License Back after Refusing Breathalyzer?

If your driver’s license is suspended for refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada, you must fulfill certain requirements to get it back. These requirements may include completing the suspension period, paying any fines or fees associated with the offence, and possibly participating in an alcohol rehabilitation program. Once these requirements are met, you can apply to reinstate your license through the appropriate provincial or territorial licensing authority.

Final Thoughts

Refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada can have serious consequences. The consequences include criminal charges, fines, and license suspension. Drivers must understand their rights and obligations when interacting with law enforcement officers. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you need help with how to proceed, you can seek legal advice from professionals. 

FAQs

Is refusing a breathalyzer test a criminal offence in Canada?

Refusing a Breathalyzer test in Canada is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code. It is regarded as a serious offence similar to impaired driving itself.

What are the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada?

Refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada can result in immediate consequences. It may include being charged with refusing to provide a breath sample. It carries penalties similar to those for impaired driving.

Can refusing a breathalyzer test lead to license suspension in Canada?

Refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada can lead to suspending an automatic driver’s license. The length of the suspension can vary depending on factors such as previous offences and provincial regulations.

Do I have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test in Canada?

While individuals have certain rights when interacting with law enforcement, refusing a breathalyzer test in Canada is not generally protected. There are legal consequences for refusal. It includes the potential charges and license suspension.

Can I challenge a refusal of the breathalyzer charge?

Individuals have the right to challenge a refusal of a breathalyzer charge in Canada. Several defence strategies can be employed. These strategies may include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, questioning the officer’s grounds for suspicion, raising issues with the breathalyzer device used to administer the test, etc.