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It’s against the law to refuse breath test

Monday, June 4, 2012
Law Made Simple

This is the second part to last week’s article on laws that regulate the use of the nation’s roads.

Driving under the influence
It is an offence to drive under the influence of alcohol. Any person, who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, so that he is incapable of having proper control of the vehicle, commits an offence. If found guilty, the person is liable to a fine of between eight and $15,000 and a term of imprisonment between three to five years. Where a person has been arrested and convicted of this offence more than once, the court may disqualify the driver from holding a driver’s permit for a period of three years.


To determine if a driver has consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the proportion of alcohol in his blood exceeds the lawful limit, a police officer may request the driver provide a breath sample. This requires the use of the breathalyser device. The legal limit is expressed in technical terms and refers to 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.


Many people are unaware of how this legal limit translates to the number of alcoholic drinks a person may consume. As such, you should avoid drinking alcohol when you have to drive, so as not be in breach of the law. It is an offence to refuse to provide a breath sample when requested to do so by a police officer. Failure to submit a sample may result in a fine of between eight and $15,000 and a term of imprisonment between three to five years.

Dangerous Driving
It is an offence for any person to drive dangerously on the road. A person drives dangerously if he:
(i) drives below what is expected of a competent and careful driver; or
(ii) it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.


If found guilty of this offence, the driver may be liable to a fine of $10,000, five years’ imprisonment and possible permanent disqualification from holding a driver’s permit. Sometimes, dangerous driving can have serious consequences to other road users.



As a result, if someone is killed due to the dangerous driving of an individual, that driver is guilty of an offence. The penalty for this offence is a possible a term of imprisonment of 15 years and potential permanent disqualification from holding a driver’s permit.


• This column is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should consult a legal advisor.


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