Police warn public against test refusal

The driver was more than four times the legal limit, police say. Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Refusing to engage with evidential breath alcohol or blood alcohol tests is likely to send drivers down a far worse path in terms of court sentencing, police have warned.

It comes after two Dunedin drivers refused to undergo drink-driving procedures in the space of a week.

Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond, of Dunedin, said if roadside breath alcohol testing was refused by the driver, they were taken back to the police station to undergo a breath screening test.

"If you refuse that, then you are required to supply a blood test, and if you refuse that, it is an offence.

"There’s an assumption that you are over the limit and that’s the reason why you’re not supplying it.

"There’s no defence to that, because if you had given a breath sample or blood sample, then at least you can show you were at the higher end of the scale or at the lower end or the middle."

He said those who refused to undergo the tests left the courts with few options for sentencing.

"If it’s their [the driver’s] first or second offence, then they could be sentenced to a maximum of three months’ imprisonment or $4500 fine, and a six-month driving disqualification.

"But the third or subsequent driving with excess blood alcohol is two years’ imprisonment or $6000 fine, and a driving disqualification."

He said there were always people who refused to engage with police.

He hoped the message may encourage intoxicated drivers to react better when undergoing roadside testing.