Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.
Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.
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If a police constable reasonably suspects you are/have been driving, attempting to drive or in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or public road and:
- You are under the influence of alcohol or drugs e.g. breath smells of intoxicants, or
- You have committed a moving traffic offence e.g. going through a red light, or
- You have been involved in an accident
The PC can require that you take a preliminary breath test, field impairment test (FIT) or chemical drug test - PC must be in uniform to conduct these tests.
The police cannot stop a vehicle just to carry out a random breath test. They have to have a reasonable suspicion that the person has consumed alcohol or drugs. However, once the vehicle has been stopped for, perhaps, a routine check, this can be ascertained through the smell of alcohol, slurred speech or glazed eyes etc. Failure to comply with a request to carry out a breath test is an offence and the penalty is the same as if you had been convicted of being over the limit.