Failing to Provide a Specimen

Failing to Provide a Specimen
Birmingham Magistrates’ Court by Elliott Brown

When the police investigate a case of drink driving or drug driving they will ask the driver to provide a specimen for analysis. That specimen can be of breath, blood or urine. When the suspect does not provide a sample they could be charged with failing to provide a specimen. The penalties are very similar to the penalties for drink driving. The result is usually a driving ban of at least 12 months.

If the police have accused you of failing to provide a specimen and you want to challenge the case against you, I may be able to help. Are you worried about a driving ban for failing to provide a specimen? I can help with that too.

Things I Look Out For in a Failing to Provide a Specimen for Analysis Case

  • Was the accused in charge of the vehicle instead of driving (can result in points rather than a ban)
  • Will magistrates offer a rehabilitation course and reduce the disqualification by ¼
  • Was the suspect unable to provide a specimen due to a medical condition
  • Did the suspect have a reasonable excuse not to provide
  • Should the police have offered an alternative specimen of blood or urine
  • Was the specimen of breath not provided due to a malfunction of the breath testing machine
  • Did something happen that could be a defence
  • Errors in procedure by the police
  • Errors in procedure by the prosecution
  • Was the police investigation into drunk in charge, if so a 12 month ban could be avoided

Also Known As

  • Refusing a breath test
  • Failure to provide an evidential sample
  • Fail provide

Do Not Confuse With

Penalties for Failing to Provide a Specimen

The maximum sentence for failing to provide a specimen is:

  • Unlimited fine
  • 6 months in prison
  • Disqualification from driving

Where the police are investigating a case involving driving a vehicle the minimum driving disqualification is 12 months.

A disqualification from driving will be reduced by ¼ on completion of a rehabilitation course

Where the police are investigating a case involving being in charge of a vehicle the there is a minimum of 10 penalty points.

Sentencing Guidelines

When a Magistrates’ Court sentences someone for failing to provide a specimen they use these guidelines.

Examples of nature of activity Starting point Range Disqualification
Category 3

(Lower culpability and lesser harm)

Band C fine Band B fine to low level community order 12 – 16 months
Category 2

(Higher culpability and lesser harm OR lower culpability and greater harm)

Medium level community order Low level community order to high level community order 17 – 28 months
Category 1

(Higher culpability and greater harm)

12 weeks’ custody High level community order to 26 weeks’ custody 29 – 36 months
  • Higher culpability means a deliberate refusal or failure.
  • Greater harm means a high level of impairment.
  • All other cases will be lower culpability and/or lesser harm.

Different guidelines apply about disqualification when there is a previous conviction for some drink driving related offences in the last 10 years.

Read this post for more information about how sentencing guidelines work.

Crown Court or Magistrates’ Court?

Failing to provide a specimen trials and guilty pleas are always in the Magistrates’ Court. Appeals are in the Crown Court.

Find Out More

Unsure If You Need Legal Representation for Failing to Provide a Specimen?

Before you decide if you need a solicitor, call me or request a call back under no obligation.


Birmingham Magistrates’ Court by Elliott Brown made into a sketch from an original photo / CC BY