A breath analysis test is conducted using a portable device often called the breathalyser. This device measures the approximate Prescribed Content of Alcohol (PCA) in the subject’s blood. This test is used as evidence for the prosecution of a drunk driving traffic offence. This test is administered by a law enforcement officer or an authorised government official. These officers can randomly stop drivers order to conduct breath analysis tests. Sometimes they may be conducted if a driver is seen to be driving erratically, involved in an accident, randomly as part of a ‘booze bus’ operation, on any driver who is randomly pulled over by an officer, or on a person sitting in the driver’s seat with the ignition on, or a driver who is actively supervising or instructing Learner driver who was driving.
Whenever a police officer or an authorised person asks for a breath analysis test, it is mandatory to submit to the test. Refusal or failure to do so is considered a serious traffic offence. You cannot raise the argument of seeking legal advice before submitting to the test, and if you were to push that point, that action itself constitutes the ‘refusal’ to undertake the test.
Refusing to take the breath analysis test is considered to be a major offence, and prosecution can lead to penalties equivalent to the high range PCA, which is the highest level of drink driving.
The penalties are imposed only after successful prosecution in court. A good traffic lawyer can be very helpful in mounting a successful defence. If the charges are successfully defended against, the court may dismiss them, and the defendant is found not guilty.
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