The Consequences Of Refusing To Take A Breathalyzer Test

This is important to know. If a lawful demand is made to blow into the breathalyzer and you don’t comply with it, you will be charged with refusal.

The consequences of refusal are exactly the same as if you had actually blown over the limit.

So, when people call us in the middle of the night on a long weekend or on Christmas holidays, which is commonly the case, and they say “Should I blow?”, the answer always has to be “yes.” The consequences of not blowing are automatic. If you blow, then you have the defenses available.

We also handle refusal charges, and we have been successful on many occasions with charges against people that refused to provide a sample. And this can come up in cases, such as, when people are medically unable to provide a sample, where they fail to understand the instructions given them regarding providing a sample, or how they should operate the machine itself.

The bottom line is that if you are asked by an officer for a breath sample, you give it and you don’t have a choice in the matter. Saying “no” is going to result in the same penalty as if you had actually provided a sample and were found to be above the legal limit. You never know. If you provide the sample, you may blow under and be walking away from the problem.

The police do have to tell you that refusal is a criminal offence and in most cases they will also tell you the penalties for refusal. In my experience, most officers will be careful and provide you with that caution.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Toronto,Ontario Region, contact Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman for a consultation.

This information is taken from an interview from August 10, 2007 with Ed Prutschi, Criminal Lawyer with Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman, Toronto Criminal Lawyers. The article is provided as an information service only and should not be used as legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction so please consult with an appropriate legal professional if you are looking for help with a specific situation.