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Law change may lead to breath test refusal punishment

Sweeping changes to Canadian law may be just around the corner, and some experts believe these changes will give unprecedented powers to police officers. Here in Alberta and across the nation, new laws are being introduced that would allow police to request mandatory breath tests roadside, and even to approach a suspect at their home hours later. As part of these changes, breath test refusal would now carry a heavy criminal consequence. 

Breath test refusal can land you behind bars

In Alberta, police have the right to stop motorists whom they believe may be impaired. If they then have reason to suspect the driver of consuming alcohol or using drugs within three hours of taking control of a vehicle, they can order the suspect to submit to a breath test. Furthermore, if for any reason a breath test cannot be executed, a urine or blood test done by suitably qualified individuals may be ordered. Breath test refusal can have severe consequences.

What is a breathalyzer test?

Most Alberta residents have never seen a breathalyzer device and do not know exactly what it is. The breathalyzer device is a special machine that analyzes the amount of alcohol in your blood. When the machine is done doing its job, it provides a figure relating to your blood alcohol content (BAC). That figure represents the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream.

Do you have to take a breathalyzer test?

If you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, do you have to take a breathalyzer test if the officer tells you to? Unfortunately, you do unless you want to face charges of refusing to comply with a police officer. You also do not have a right to request a lawyer before being subjected to roadside testing.

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