Breath Test Refusal


Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is an offence to refuse or fail to provide a breath sample upon demand. For accused people, this charge can be devastating. Conviction can result in a criminal record and the loss of a driver’s license, which many people depend upon to fulfil activities of daily life.

Many are tempted to take what seems to be the easiest option — to plead guilty and get their license back. Before making any final decisions, it is wise to consult with a lawyer, who can tell you whether or not your best option is to fight the charges at trial.


Edelson Friedman LLP represents people charged with refusal to provide a breath sample in Ottawa. We use the tools of our trade, legal advocacy, to give them the best possible defence. This includes challenging the mechanics of the Breathalyzer and taking a close look at the actions of police. Authorities must meet high standards of conduct when accusing people of committing crimes. We hold them to this standard.

There are many possible defences to a breath test refusal. Depending on the nature of your particular case, one or all of these could be advanced by your lawyer. Defences include:

  • The demand was not lawful. In other words, police did not meet their obligations under the law when they asked you to produce the sample.
  • The machine was not working properly and the breath sample registered as a failure.
  • The accused has a medical condition that prevents him or her from blowing hard enough to give a sample.

If you are facing charges of breath sample refusal, talk to us. We may be able to give you the defence you need.

Success Story: J. was charged with impaired driving and failing to provide a breath sample. At trial, defence counsel brought a constitutional (Charter) application, arguing that J. had not been given an adequate opportunity to speak to counsel. All evidence of refusal and observations relating to impairment at the police station were excluded as evidence. J. was acquitted.



Drunk driving charges are criminal offences and require criminal defence representation. Call us at 613-223-4089 in Ottawa or contact us online to book a FREE consultation with one of our lawyers in Ottawa for breath test refusal charge defence.