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Failure to Provide a Sample of Breath – Not Guilty

Not guilty verdict - client exonerated
26 May, 2022
General Motoring

Lead Lawyer

Team Members

Case study summary

Our client was driving home from a day out with his son when he was pulled over by the police. He was asked to provide a breath sample but had a panic attack which left him unable to do so. We successfully argued that he had a reasonable excuse and the court found him not guilty.

Case study

We were approached by a vulnerable man with a history of panic attacks and anxiety. He had been pulled over by the police when driving home from a day out with his young son. The police wrongly took his nerves for signs that he could be drunk and asked him to provide a breath sample.

The police failed to show any understanding of his mental health conditions and their difficult attitude made the client even more nervous. Despite his clearly panicked state, the officers arrested our client and took him to a police station. Once at the station, he was asked to provide further samples of breath. As a result of his mental health conditions, concern for his son and stress of the situation, he suffered a panic attack which meant he was physically unable to give the requested sample.

The police ignored the client's explanations and charged him with failure to provide a breath sample. The client then approached our specialist motoring lawyers. He had no previous convictions and was terrified about the potential punishment.

Once we assessed the evidence and took a detailed account from our client, it was very clear that he was not guilty of this offence, as he had a reasonable excuse for not doing so. It is well established that mental health conditions can be a reasonable excuse for failing to provide a sample of breath.

We hand-selected an expert psychologist who was able to provide strong evidence that our client was suffering from a panic attack at the time he was asked to provide his sample. We also instructed an experienced motoring barrister who explained the client’s vulnerabilities to the court sensitively. The court had no choice but to accept the evidence we had offered and find our client not guilty.

After we won the case, our client was able to carry on with his life as a father and seek support for his mental health issues.

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