It’s never sensible to be wise after the event. Yes life teaches us valuable lessons at times, and we should always look to learn from our experiences.

However, in the case of drink driving charges, it’s probably wise to get a few facts clear before any “life-event”. This is not an article on how to avoid conviction, that would be a very simple i.e. do not drink and drive; but instead it’s a focus on your rights when it comes to the Police stopping and moreover requesting to breathalyse you. So read on to understand a little more.


The Police have the right to pull over any vehicle whenever they decide, so if you do see the blue lights, make sure that you stop in a safe place. They can ask for your documents – licence, insurance and MOT or ask for a producer within 7 days should you not carry them.


So the Police can pull over anybody, at any time, but this does not mean that they automatically have the right to breathalyse everybody that gets pulled over. A number of criteria have to be met.

A breath test can only be requested when:

  • They think you’ve been drinking
  • You’ve committed an offence or
  • You’ve been involved in a road traffic accident (RTA)

Suspicion of drinking may come from smelling alcohol on your breath, being tipped off, or seeing you leave a pub car park etc.

If you’re driving constitutes an offence, such as speeding or running a light, then this is also grounds for a test.

Finally, being in an RTA gives the Police the right to request a test, even if you are not at fault – such as being hit from behind. Many morning drivers, who are still over the limit from the night before have been “caught” in this manner. It is usual for the Police to test all parties.

If you pass the roadside test, you may be free to go (unless there is a more serious offence which brought about the stop). If you fail, you are taken to a Police Station for a formal more accurate test. Your car will not be driven by you and may be left.


You can refuse to take the test only with reasonable reason, such as physical or mental restrictions. Remember though that failing to give a sample can constitute an offence too. Here you will go to the station to give a breath, urine or blood test, and you should always refer to a drink driving Solicitor for help.

So, whilst the Police can stop anyone, they cannot breathalyse everyone. They must follow procedure properly or risk it being inadmissible. However, the last thing you want is to have to rely on a technicality and drink driving Solicitors to get you out of a position that could have been avoided.

You are now informed.