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Refuse Breath Analysis

Effective December 1, 2005 a driver in South Australia who refuses to provide a breath test or participate in a breath analysis will be disqualified from driving. A fine of $2900 will also be imposed for the refusal.

Thus, if a driver wants to avoid the disqualification and fine then it would be best to take the test. Then again, the results of the test can be used as evidence against the driver for a drink driving offence case.

It is part of the police’ power to flag drivers whom they reasonably believe to have been involved in an accident, committed an offence while driving or whose driving ability is impaired. Random breath stations are set up by the police along the road such that just about any driver, even one totally innocent of any offence, can be asked to breath into a device to check if he is driving with alcohol in his body.

The breath test or alcotesting is done by breathing into a small hand held device. For this the driver does not have to step out of his vehicle. If the test shows positive for alcohol, to confirm the result the driver can be asked to provide a breath sample for the breath analysis machine. This machine is slightly bigger and is in almost every police car’s boot. The breath analysis machine provides a more accurate and reliable reading than the device used for the alcotesting.

A positive result from the machine means that is the blood alcohol concentration of the driver two hours immediately before the test. Drink driving cases have been won by accused-drivers because their BACs have been taken beyond the two hour period. Police will no longer conduct the test if two hours have passed since the ground for taking the test arose.

The next step then for the police is to inform the driver of his right to have a blood test. It is important for the police to do this because if the case reaches the court the driver can raise the absence of the right to be informed as a defence.

The mere act of refusing a breath test is a criminal offence but there is a medical condition which prevents a person from breathing the required volume of breath for a test. Of course, there must be a doctor’s certification to support this defence and which must be shown to the police or to the court

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