Failing to Provide

Failing to provide a specimen is a serious criminal offence. You should seek immediate legal advice and consider all available defences. If you would like to discuss your case, please call a member of our team.

We can help you with:

  • Discussing your options
  • Reviewing the evidence
  • Identifying defences
  • Next steps

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Charged with Failing to Provide a Specimen?

M.A.J. Law are the nation’s leading motoring defence solicitors. Our team are experts in challenging evidence and avoiding convictions. M.A.J. Law has a proven track record of successfully defending failing to provide cases.


Failing to provide a specimen is not the same offence as drink or drug driving. In fact, a sober person who has not been driving can be convicted of this offence, as unfair as it sounds. Any person charged with failing to provide should attend the first hearing with an open mind.

Conor Johnstone

The police have a general power to stop any vehicle on the road under Section 163 RTA 1988. However, they do not have the power to conduct random roadside tests. To do this they must have reasonable cause (i.e. a suspicion or belief) that you are above the prescribed limit.  An officer may have reasonable cause if:

  1. The motorist commits a moving traffic offence (jumping a red light, driving erratically, etc)
  2. The motorist is involved in a road traffic collision
  3. The motorist is displaying signs of intoxication/impairment (glazed eyes, slurred speech, etc).
  4. The motorist admins to having consumed drugs or alcohol 

If the roadside officer has 'reasonable cause', he may ask you to give a preliminary specimen (breath test or saliva test), or he may arrest you immediately under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (for driving whilst unfit). The purpose of the arrest is to obtain a more accurate specimen from you at the police station.

Many police forces hold random stop checks (sometimes referred to as a 'document check'). If the circumstances of the stop would not give the officer reasonable cause to suspect or believe that alcohol or some drug had been consumed, this may render your arrest unlawful. It’s also worth noting that the officer making the requirement for you to provide a roadside test must be in full police uniform


If we can find fault with any part of the police procedure, it is likely the case against you would fail. This means you avoid a disqualification and a criminal conviction.  

If you have been charged with failing to provide a specimen you will now be facing the prospect of attending court. No doubt you will be extremely worried about the court process and what will happen to you. You may be thinking of pleading guilty or you may be wondering if there is any possibility of defending the charge. Either way it is vital that you obtain professional advice and consider all your options.

Failing to Provide: Penalties

The penalty for a failing to provide allegation can range from 10 points on your licence to a prison sentence, depending on the circumstances of the offence and the impairment level of the individual. If convicted, it can often mean:

  • Loss of licence for a minimum of 12 months
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Branded a ‘High Risk Offender’
  • Loss of job
  • A criminal record
  • A DVLA medical before your licence is returned
  • VISA and possible travel restrictions
  • Attendance on the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course
  • Possible custodial sentence
Nature of activity Starting point Range Disqualification Disqualification 2nd offence in 10 years
Moderate level of impairment and no aggravating factor Band C fine Band C fine 12 – 16 months 36 – 40 months
Moderate level of impairment and one or more aggravating factors Band C fine Band C fine 17 -22 months 36 – 46 months
High level of impairment and no aggravating factors Medium level community order Low level community order to high level community order 23 -28 months 36 – 52 months
High level of impairment and one or more aggravating factors 12 weeks custody High level community order to 26 weeks custody 29 – 36 months 36 – 60 months

Pleading guilty is not your only option. In fact, there could be a number of options available to you, depending on the exact circumstances of your case. Please see the table below for the sentencing guidelines used by the Magistrates Court for the offence of failing to provide a specimen.


Failing to provide a specimen is a serious criminal offence. You should seek immediate legal advice and consider all available defences.

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M.A.J Law specialise in defending criminal motoring cases. Failing to provide is a serious offence that can carry a period of imprisonment, as well as a lengthy disqualification.

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Failing to provide a specimen of blood during a drug driving investigation is a serious offence.

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