Drink Driving – Police Procedures
Sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 provides the procedure which must be followed by the police when samples of blood/urine are taken.
The admissibility of those specimens as evidence against a motorist charged with drink driving depends upon the procedures being followed correctly. We always seek the 4:8:1 form that should be a record of the procedures followed and often therefore acts as the cornerstone of our cross examination in such cases. We will also seek sight of the intoximeter log to ensure that it was working properly on the day of the given sample.
As a suspected drink driver you have a legal obligation to provide a laboratory sample when one of the four reasons set out at section 7(3) occurs. BUT before such a sample is taken the driver needs to be provided with certain information by the police:
- he has to tell the motorist the reason under terms of s.7(3) why breath specimens cannot be taken or used in this matter;
- he should tell the driver that in those circumstances he is required to give a sample of blood or urine, but that the officer will decide which. Many drivers believe that they have the choice but this is wrong, the choice is with the police officer dealing with the case.
- he must warn the driver that a failure to provide the sample required may result in prosecution;
- and if he has asked for a sample of blood,
- he should ask the driver if there is any medical reason why a specimen cannot or should not be taken by a doctor.
When, in the circumstances set out at section 8(2), a driver may choose to replace a breath specimen by supplying a laboratory sample,
The officer should inform the driver of the nature of the option open to him and what will be involved if he exercises it;
- he must inform the driver that the specimen of breath which he has given containing the lower proportion of alcohol exceeds the statutory limit; but does not exceed 50 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath;
- he should inform the driver that in the circumstances he is entitled to claim to have this specimen replaced by a specimen of blood or urine if he wishes; We have heard countless tales of drivers claiming that the police officer told them not to bother as it would serve no real benefit to them: rubbish, you should, where the opportunity arises ask for a blood sample to be provided. If there are medical reason why you cannot give blood then make sure that these reasons are stated and recorded.
- the police officer should ask the driver if there are any medical reasons why a sample of blood cannot or should not be taken. Having read the above if you think the procedures for you were any different then get in touch and we may be able to win your drink driving case and save your driving licence.