Admissibility of specimens of blood, urine and breath in road traffic cases
Admissibility of specimens of blood, urine and breath in road traffic cases

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Admissibility of specimens of blood, urine and breath in road traffic cases
  • Consent to specimens of blood and urine at the police station
  • Blood
  • What happens if a person is incapable of giving consent?
  • Urine
  • What happens if the specimens have been improperly obtained?
  • The statutory assumption
  • Division of samples
  • The adequacy of the sample
  • Certificates of analysis of specimens

Consent to specimens of blood and urine at the police station

The police have the power to request a sample of blood or urine instead of a specimen of breath if one of the circumstances set out in the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) exists.

See Practice Note: Evidential specimens in road traffic cases.

A person who fails to provide the specimen required without a reasonable excuse commits an offence.

Blood

Under the RTA 1988 and the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988) a blood specimen will be disregarded unless it is taken by a medical practitioner or health care professional with the consent of the person who provided it.

Consent can also be vitiated by the manner in which it is obtained (see: Murray v DPP [1993] RTR 209 (not reported by LexisNexis®)). Vitiation of consent will render the evidence inadmissible in law.

What happens if a person is incapable of giving consent?

A specimen of blood may be taken by a medical practitioner from a person who is, or may be incapable of consenting, without their consent if:

  1. the officer would be entitled under the RTA 1988, s 7 to require a specimen of blood for a laboratory test

  2. it appears to the officer that the person has been involved in an accident which is the subject of an investigation

  3. the person has given their consent

A specimen taken in these

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