Drink drivers who think they can dodge justice by refusing to give a breath test are being caught out.
Roughly one in every dozen motorists arrested in Sussex on suspicion of driving while drunk or on drugs will not allow the officer who stops them to test their breath. Those suspected of being over the limit are then taken back to a police station and ordered to give a sample of blood or urine to see if they have drink or drugs in their system. Because some motorists believe that not failing a test means they can prevent their driving licence being taken off them, they refuse to comply at the station.
But by refusing to give a sample, they are instead committing a different offence – one that could lead to them being jailed for up to six months, fined up to £5,000 and banned from the road for at least a year.
Since January 1 a total of 89 drivers have fallen foul of that offence – more than seven per cent of the 1,193 drivers arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving crimes. One in four drivers in Sussex who refused to give a sample were female, compared to less than one in five of those arrested overall for drink or drug driving crimes.
Chief Inspector Natalie Moloney said, “Those who think refusing to comply with breath tests will keep them out of trouble soon find out they are wrong. Not only do they get taken to a police station and then to court, they can lose their licence and their liberty – all for thinking they can outwit justice. The law is not there to punish those who have a genuine reason why they cannot provide a breath, blood or urine sample when they are asked, such as if they have a physical problem with doing so. It is there to punish those who put lives at risk every day in Sussex by driving after drinking or taking drugs because they think they can get away it. Motorists have a simple choice: drink or drive.”