Pleading Guilty to Refuse to Provide Further Sample

This is a case study on pleading guilty to Refuse to Provide Further Sample.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client was a young person who was involved in his first drink driving offences. He was pulled over by the police and was asked to participate in a random breath test (RBT). He complied with the police’s initial request. The result identified alcohol in his breath and he was then asked by the officer to accompany him back to a station for a second evidentiary sample.

The client did not understand the request and his obligations. He believed that he had a ‘choice’ whether to accompany the officer. He thought if he said ‘no’, the police would just charge him with the evidence from the first reading. However, in fact refusing to accompany an officer is an offence in itself. It carries a mandatory 24-month licence suspension minimum for first time offenders; and can often lead to a longer minimum suspension period than a large proportion of common drink driving offences.

Eventually, the client was charged with an offence for refusing to accompany a police officer to the station. When he collected his paperwork from the station a couple of weeks later, he was charged again for identical offending. On this day, the police asked him to participate in a RBT which came back with an initial result of alcohol in his breath. When the police asked him whether he would accompany them for a second evidentiary test, he thought he had an option not to go and opted to just give the first reading again. Therefore before the court the client had two identical charges for ‘refusing to accompany a police officer’.

What happened at court?
The client came to Doogue and George. Pleading guilty was initially not an option as he was seeking to contest the charges because he believed the requests by the police were ambiguous. We acted on his behalf at the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court on the following charges:

The matter was booked in for contest mention, where our client sought an indication from the magistrate. This allowed his version of the incident to be presented before the magistrate prior to seeking an indication. Having the matters adjourned and heard together at the same time also meant that the sentence could be served concurrently. It further meant that when the client went to court for the indication, he did not have any ‘priors’ and could be sentenced as a first time offender.

We tendered letters of support from the client’s uncle and mother. Submissions were made surrounding the circumstances of the alleged offending, the client’s age, and most significantly, the impact of a loss of licence in the client’s current employment.

What was the result?
The magistrate indicated that he would order the suspensions concurrently (at the same time), which was a sentence of a total suspension period of 26 months for both offences. The client accepted the indication and pleaded guilty to Refuse to Provide Further Sample and other offences.

Elements of Refuse to Provide Further Sample:
  • the accused was asked to comply with a requirement made under section 55(1), 55(2), 55(2AA), 55(2A), or 55(9A) of the Road Safety Act 1986
  • the accused refused to comply with said requirement
Related case studies
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 06/08/2018