Refusing a random breath test and the consequences

Since 1985, police have legally been able to administer random breath tests (RBT’s) to anyone driving a vehicle on a public road or sitting in the driver’s seat in public. Under this rule, policemen and women have the right to request anyone that falls under these categories to stop and adhere to an RBT.

Naturally, this means that there are certain consequences for anyone who refuses to stop or refuses to undergo a police ordained breathalyser test.

At DGB Lawyers, we have a strong reputation for handling traffic law incidents in Wollongong and the Illawarra generally.

We have put together a small collection of the most important information when it comes to RBTs in New South Wales.

How Does Testing Work?

When asked to provide an RBT by an officer of the law, the driver will be required to blow into a breathalyser until told to stop. The digital screen on the device will then indicate what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is.

In New South Wales, if you hold a full drivers licence it is illegal for your BAC to be over 0.05 and if you hold a learners or provisional licence you must have a BAC level of 0.00.

Implied Consent

In New South Wales, driving is considered to be a privilege. Under the implied consent laws, all drivers have implicitly consented to a BAC test in exchange for these driving privileges. Therefore, if you refuse to take a breathalyser test, you have forfeited your driving privileges.

What If I Refuse to Take the Test?

If you refuse to comply with an RBT, you are likely to face serious consequences. If the officer has reason to believe you are intoxicated, you risk having your licence suspended immediately. Refusing a breath test will generally lead to you being charged with DUI, as your refusal to comply can be regarded as a sign of guilt.

Depending on the situation, you may be arrested directly after refusing a breath test. In this circumstance, the police officer is able to collect evidence such as your appearance/behaviour and witness testimony to use against you in court.

When Can’t Police Request an RBT?

In some circumstances, there are grounds to refuse a breath test from a police officer. In New South Wales, the police cannot ask you to submit to a breath test if you have not driven a vehicle in the past two hours.

A police officer must have sufficient proof to suggest that you have operated a vehicle of some kind for you to submit to a test.

An RBT can also be denied on medical grounds in rare instances. For this to apply, you must have evidence from a doctor that the physical act of giving a breath test will affect your condition.

If you are in legal trouble for refusing a breath test, it is essential to seek professional advice. Contact DGB Lawyers for comprehensive legal guidance and advice regarding RBTs and refusing a breath test.