What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Ontario?

April 13, 2024

Are you wondering what happens when you refuse a breathalyzer test in Ontario? If you’ve recently refused a breath test, you have been charged with a criminal offence. 

At Passi & Patel, we tirelessly advocate for you so you receive the best possible outcome. Keep reading to learn everything you should know about refusing a DUI breath test.

Breathalyzer Test in Ontario

Does Ontario Law Require You To Take a Breathalyzer?

Ontario law requires you to submit to a breath test when requested by a police officer. While they can’t physically force you to submit to a test, Ontario law classifies refusing the test as a criminal offence. Refusing a breath test has significant legal consequences.

Types of Breath Alcohol Testing

Roadside testing (pass or fail) vs. Breath Testing (Determine your precise blood alcohol concentration)

Roadside Tests

The roadside test uses an “approved screening device” that measures your blood alcohol concentration. In some cases, you can consult a lawyer before the test, but in cases where the device is present and ready to be used, you cannot. A police officer does not need any reason or evidence to ask you to provide a sample of your breath into an “approved screening device.”

Breath Testing

If you fail the “approved screening device,” you will be arrested and taken to a police station. You will be given an opportunity to speak to a lawyer, after which you will be asked to provide 2 samples of your breath into a machine known as an “Intoxilyzer.” This machine will analyze your breath samples and create a printout with your precise blood alcohol concentration. 

Consequences for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test? You can read about the consequences in section 320.15 of the Criminal Code.

The immediate consequences include a 90-day suspension of your licence and impounding your vehicle for a minimum of seven days. You may also pay a fine of approximately $2,000 for a first-time offence.

Advocating Against the Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer

How can a criminal defence lawyer help you reduce the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer? They’ll focus on casting doubt on the arresting officer in the following ways:

  • Showing the police didn’t have a legal right to demand the test
  • Providing evidence the driver wasn’t capable of understanding the officer’s directions
  • Indicating the police didn’t properly explain the driver’s obligation to take the test
  • Showing the officer breached one of your Charter rights.

Seek a Criminal Defence Lawyer for Help

If you need an attorney to advocate for you regarding a “refusal” charge, seek the experienced criminal defence lawyers at Passi & Patel. We keep you highly informed throughout the process and offer tailored legal solutions for your case. To schedule a consultation, please call us at 905-459-0004 or e-mail info@passipatel.com.