COMMENT: Can passengers be charged for not providing a breath test?

The woman was arrested following a police pursuit
The woman was arrested following a police pursuit

Yesterday the Chad posted a court story about a man who had been a passenger in a car stopped in Mansfield, and charged with failing to provide a breath test, leading to him losing his licence.

Despite the disbelief of many on social media that a passenger can’t be banned for such a drink-driving-related charge, they actually can.

The defendant was one of three in the car, and it was said by his solicitor in court that he exited from a rear door of the car, making him a passenger.

This was not challenged nor disputed by the Crown Prosecution Service in open court.

The other two occupants of the vehicle took breath tests and passed, while the defendant refused.

He was therefore charged with failing to provide a breath test and as a result, was banned from driving.

This led to many readers questioning whether this was lawful.

According to the law, a police officer only needs to suspect that a person may have been driving to request a breath specimen.

One law website states; “If someone fails to provide a specimen of breath on the basis they were not driving they could be guilty of failing to provide a specimen.

“So long as the sample has been provided, if it cannot be proven that the person drove (or attempted to drive) then they cannot be found guilty of either excess alcohol or failing to provide a specimen.”