Asthma UK community forum

Breath tests

No I don't mean at the local clinic I mean the ones the police do. I was randomly pulled over for vehicle checks the other day got into quite a tizzy about being asked to do a breathaliser test, not cos I was drunk I won't drive if I have had a glass of wine. But bearing in mind I often have as much puff as a ""hamster f*rt"" (my sons quote on seeing me do a peak flow the other day) I would have had to politely refuse to do a breath test even if I could blow for the required amount of time it would no doubt kick something off. I have always said I would say no but would happily give a blood sample (assuming they can find a vein) . If you are pulled over by the police for a broken light or if you are in an accident even if it not your fault they are supposed to breathalise you. How do I stand legally on this, would refusal to give a sample lead to my being arrested or what?

BTW the check was simply on my tax disc and on seeing it was a motorbilty car they let me on my way, without me so much as getting out of the car.


4 Replies

I've always been led to believe you can refuse on grounds of being asthmatic & go to the station for a blood/urine test.


I always thought this but someone pointed out once that there is an offence of failing to give a breath sample and I would be guilty of that hands up its a fair cop etc etc and as such in order to get blood sample they would have to arrest me!



Yeah Bex,

Without looking into this in any detail, I would say that I am also of the opinion that it is an offence NOT to give a breath test when requested to do so.

I think the law leaves no room for doubt. If no breath test is forthcoming you will immediately be arrested and taken to the nearest police station where a doctor will take a blood sample.

I am sure the police officers will show patience and understanding when you explain that your asthma will/may prevent you from attempting a breath test, but none the less, I believe you will be cautioned and then escorted forthwith to the local nick.

Take hair (As he takes off his homemade legal eagle wig and tosses it in the corner)



I asked about this somewhere else where a couple of serving policemen were kind enough to reply.

It seems yes you can be arrested for failing to provide a sample even if you car looks likes ambulance and you have O2 cylinders sloshing around. However the roadside breath test is one of the few things the boys in blue are able to use their discresion on so with luck you will get one with one ounce of common sense and it won't be a problem.

However, I consider myself warned that there is every possibility that should I get asked to do a breath sample and refuse (politly) I will be arrested. However proving it was not my fault will be easy with a letter from GP or consultant and once your alibi is established all record of it will be dropped.


ps and of course I never ever drink and drive so have nothing to fear from the old wee or blood sample.


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