Australian Police have been using breath tests to measure the concentration of alcohol in the blood since 1985. Any person driving a vehicle on a public road, sitting in the driver’s seat or attempting to drive a vehicle can be stopped for a ‘random breath test’ by the Police. But, do you have to agree and undergo this breath test? If you plan on refusing a breath test, you may face some serious legal consequences.
When Can Police Request a Breath Test?
Under Section 80(2) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, the police can request a breath or saliva test from a person if they reasonably suspect that in the last preceding three hours, that person was;
(a) driving a motor vehicle, tram or train on a road or elsewhere; or
(b) attempting to put in motion a motor vehicle, tram or train on a road or elsewhere; or
(c) in charge of a motor vehicle, tram or train on a road or elsewhere; or
(d) driving or in charge of or attempting to put in motion a vessel being used or apparently about to be used in navigation.
If a vehicle is involved in an incident resulting in injury or death to any person, or damage to property, the police may request any person to partake in a breath or saliva test if they reasonably suspect that those persons were either driving, attempting to drive, in charge of the vehicle, or attempting or in charge of or attempting to put the vehicle in motion.
On top of this, the police may request a breath test if they have reasonable belief that the person driving, attempting to drive or in charge of the motor vehicle behaved in a manner that would indicate they are impaired.
What is Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)?
- No alcohol limit – blood alcohol concentration should be 0
- General alcohol limit – blood alcohol concentration is equal to or more than 0.05
- Middle alcohol limit – blood alcohol concentration is equal to or more than 0.10
- High alcohol limit – blood alcohol concentration is equal to or more than 0.15
What Information Is Required During a Random Breath Test?
If a person is pulled over for a random breath test, they must hand over their driver’s licence as proof of identification. Refusing to do so may result in a contravention of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, and may result in serious penalties.
Refusing a Breath Test
Under Section 80(5A) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995, refusing a breath test is a serious offence, regardless of whether or not a person has consumed alcohol or drugs. This offence carries legal consequences including lengthy disqualification periods and substantial fines. In Queensland, refusing a breath test can lead to a six month licence disqualification, a fine of 60 penalty units or up to six months imprisonment. This penalty is equal to the penalty of blowing an alcohol blood concentration level of 0.15% or above.
It is also an offence under Section 80(5) to refuse or fail to provide a breath test voluntarily at a police station. Should a person refuse, the police can use “such force as is necessary” to detain that person for the purpose of making the required laboratory test. The consequences of failing to comply with the police under Section 80(11) of the Act are equivalent to driving under the influence of alcohol as outlined in Section 79(1) of the Act.
Have You Been Charged For Refusing a Breath Test?
If you have been charged with refusing a breath test, it is essential that you seek legal advice from a traffic lawyer as soon as possible. Our team at Guest Lawyers can offer you guidance around this offence, as well as all other traffic offences in Queensland. Please get in touch by email or by phone.