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The Consequences Of Refusing A Breathalyser Test In QLD

You can get pulled over by the police and be asked to provide a breathalyser test at any time, day, or night. But what if you refuse? What are the repercussions for doing so? In this article, we’ll take a look into refusing or failing a breathalyser test here in Queensland and what it can mean for you by doing so.


What Is A Breathalyser?

A breathalyser is a device commonly used by law enforcement officers to measure the level of alcohol in your breath, (if any). The reading displays on the device, and this gives the officer your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

What Is The Purpose Of A Breath Test?

Driving over the legal alcohol limit is against the law right across Australia. Police use breathalysers to get an on-the-spot indication of whether a driver is driving legally or not.

Why Do Breath Tests Occur?

Most of the time, breathalyser tests are done at random or at a designated checkpoint where passing vehicles will be asked to pull over for testing. This can be every vehicle or only selected ones. It depends on the setup and the amount of traffic. However, there are other situations where you may be asked to provide a breath test. If the police believe you have been driving or if you have been involved in an accident.

How Are Breathalyser Tests Conducted?

Once you have been pulled over, the officer will typically ask you for your licence. They’ll ask if you’ve had anything to drink that day and then continue to test your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) via a breathalyser. There are two types of breathalysers, one you blow into, and the other will be placed near your mouth, and you’ll be asked to count to the number ten or until it beeps, and the officer tells you to stop.

Failing Or Refusing Is An Offence In Queensland

Refusing or failing to give a breath or saliva sample when requested by the police for the purpose of assessing your BAC is considered a criminal offence here in Queensland. The only time you could lawfully refuse to provide a breath sample is when cannot physically complete one due to a medical condition. There are two charges relating to a breathalyser refusal or failure. One is refusing a roadside breath test, and the other, the more serious of the two, is refusing to provide a breath test back at the police station or BAC testing bus, aka booze bus.

The Consequences For Refusing A Breathalyser Test

Failing to give a breath or saliva sample when requested is seen as a serious offence and carries the same penalty as a high-range drink driving charge, regardless of whether you were over the limit or not. The penalty can vary, but at worst, you’re looking at a $5,000 fine, a minimum of 6 months loss of licence or a 9-month prison sentence. Your licence will be suspended immediately, and you may have to have an alcohol ignition interlock installed in your car.

Eligibility To Apply For A Work Licence When Charged With Refusing To Provide A Breath Sample

Only those who’ve been charged with roadside refusal are eligible to apply for a work licence (if they meet the requirements). Those who have refused at the police station or roadside bus will not be able to apply for a work licence.

What Authority Does The Police Have When Requesting Breathalyser Tests?

As stated in the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, police may request anyone anywhere to provide a breath test. This can be at the police station or anywhere else for that matter. If you don’t comply with the officer’s request, police can use force to take you for testing. If a police officer suspects that you have been driving in the last 3 hours or have tried to drive within this time, they have the right to ask you to provide a breath sample.

Is There A Possible Defence To Refusing A Breath Test?

There are limited circumstances where someone will have a reasonable defence to not providing a breath sample. Some possible defences may include:

  • You were incapable due to a medical condition or were suffering an illness at the time.
  • Your health would have been negatively affected if you were to give a sample at the time.
  • You have a medical certificate excluding you from performing a breath test.
  • You can prove in court that you have a valid reason for not providing a sample.

Do I Need To Seek Legal Advice If I've Been Charged With Refusing To Provide A Breath Sample

If you have refused or failed to give a breath sample, then you are facing serious penalties which can significantly impact your future. Seeking legal advice and having an experienced traffic lawyer in your corner can help you achieve the best result, given your situation. They can walk you through the entire process and advise you of what to expect.

Here at Drink Driver Lawyer, we handle cases like yours every day. We work hard to keep you on the road, and if this isn’t a possibility, we’ll fight to achieve the best outcome possible for you, allowing you to get on with your life and put this event behind you. Contact our friendly team of senior lawyers today for more information.


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