Drivers charged with drink or drug driving offences or failing to provide a sample of blood or urine

Forensic physicians are regularly instructed to undertake expert court work relating to drink and drug drive cases. Substantial case law exists documenting cases where police officers have overlooked reasonable medical excuses that account for a driver’s incapability of providing a specimen of breath or blood, resulting in the charge ‘failing to provide’. In such cases, reasonable medical excuses might include anxiety / panic attack symptoms, respiratory disease such as asthma, or in the case of a request for a blood sample, needle phobia. The police ‘drink drive’ procedural paperwork, includes guidance directing the police to clarify the nature of any medical reasons for non provision reported by the driver, but the paperwork / procedure relating to drink / drug drive offences is notoriously disjointed and so this aspect is sometimes ignored.