Friday, 13 January 2012

Being Victim of Insurance Fraud May Be No Defence

Written by George Matthews and Jeanette Miller 

There has been recent press coverage of a potentially enormous insurance fraud . Hundreds of drivers took out policies with the sham company and are only now discovering that the fraudulent insurance company, Aston Midshires, was not in fact and insurance company at all. They were targeting young drivers in particular who often struggle to secure affordable insurance.  A major investigation is now underway by the police, Trading Standards and the Financial Services Authority.

So, what of the people who have taken out insurance policies with Aston Midshires?  Sadly, the insurance cover is not valid, and people who have innocently, and in good faith, paid for their cover, are committing the offence of driving without insurance  every time they drive.  The penalty for driving without insurance is 6 to 8 penalty points or a discretionary disqualification and a fine of up to £5,000.  If you have taken out a policy with Aston Midshires, then you should not continue to drive until you have taken out a new insurance policy with an authorised insurer.

A defence is available to charges of driving without insurance where restrictions on a policy can be argued to be unlawful and in only one other special situation, namely, if an employee uses an employer’s vehicle believing they were insured but the employer has failed to ensure that the employee was insured.  In this case the defendant must prove on the balance of probabilities (in other words more likely than not) that the vehicle did not belong to him and was not in his possession under a contact of hire or a loan and that he was using the vehicle in the course of his employment.  In addition, he must also show that he did not know or have reason to believe that there was no insurance in place for that vehicle.

Although it is unlikely to be considered a defence in the case of a fraudulent insurance policy, it is possible to run what is called a ‘special reasons’ argument.  There are 4 conditions which must be satisfied for a special reason to be found:
  1. The reason must be mitigating or extenuating circumstance;
  2. It must not amount to a defence;
  3. It must be directly connected to the commission of the offence, and
  4. The reason must be one that the court ought properly take into account when imposing punishment.

So what happens if I have had an accident and I had taken out insurance with Aston Midshires?  The Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) was established in 1946 as a private company limited by guarantee for the purposes of entering into agreements with the government to compensate the victims of negligence, uninsured and untraced motorists.  If you face a claim for compensation arising out of an accident that was your fault, the MIB will almost certainly agree to compensate the victim and seek reimbursement of any compensation paid from you if you are able to afford reimbursement.

If you are presented with a claim for compensation for injuries or damage arising from an accident when you were not insured, it is extremely important that you tell your opponent that you were not insured.  Whilst you may be prepared to pay compensation towards the victim, the MIB will have the legal aspects of the claim free of charge and minimise the level of compensation payable.  For more information about the MIB please visit their website

If you are a victim of this outrageous fraud and you face a charge of driving without insurance, or if you currently have a policy with Aston Midshires and don’t know what to do next, call us on our freephone number on 08000 85 27 84 for some free initial advice.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

S-Z of motoring law

S is for Special reasons

The punishments/sentences for motoring offences ranges from prison to mandatory disqualifications, penalty points and fines.

However, if the offence occurred due to a special reason, the Court have the discretion not to award the guideline penalty. A ‘special reason’ is a reason given to the Court as to why the offence was committed. This can include spiked or laced drinks in a drink driving offence, driving a very short distance, driving in an emergency and being misled in an insurance matter.

If a special reason is presented to the court and Magistrates accept your evidence, they can choose to depart from the mandatory minimum penalty for the offence and in some circumstances, whilst you could be found guilty of an offence, you could avoid penalty altogether.

T is for Totting up

When a person receives 12 or more penalty points on their driving licence they will faced with being penalised pursuant to the ‘totting up’ provisions. These direct the Magistrates to impose a 6 month driving ban. In some circumstances (where you have been banned for 56 days of more in the previous 3 years) you could face a longer ban of 1 year.

Although the Magistrates are guided to disqualify a person with 12 penalty points at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors we have achieved enormous success in retaining the licences of thousands of our clients by putting forward arguments of exceptional hardship.

The Magistrates should take into account an individual’s personal circumstances and the effect the disqualification will have upon them and innocent third parties. If the ban would have a serious detrimental effect upon the individual such as losing their job or losing their home or if it would have a devastating effect upon another person such as a dependant, the Court have the discretion not to impose the 6 month ban. In these circumstances they can either impose no ban which means that the individual will continue to have 12 points on their licence until some of the points expire.

In some circumstances the court will refuse to allow a totting up defendant to escape a ban completely and they may impose a shorter ban under the totting up provisions. If this is the case the driver will be required to serve the ban but at the end of it their licence will be wiped clean of penalty points. Whilst no driver wants to receive a ban, this can be a great way of limiting the damage where your points are fairly recent.

Alternatively, the Magistrates can also impose a shorter ban for the substantive offence. in this situation the individual will be required to serve the ban but at the end of it their licence will be returned with all previous penalty points still shown on it. This is often a good outcome for those driving for a living as it is effectively achieving an "extra life" in case of any more offences in the future whilst your licence still has points on it.

U is for driving whilst UNFIT through drink or drugs

Anyone proved to be driving or attempting to drive whilst unfit through drink or drugs commits a criminal offence which is dealt with in a magistrates' court. The arrest procedure is similar to when arrested for drink driving. However, when suspected of being unfit through drugs, a blood sample or urine sample can be required from you as breath test machines are unable to detect drug consumption.

In addition to proving that you were intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, the police will also have to prove that your driving was impaired and can rely on both forensic evidence of samples provided by you and the standard of your driving - such as erratic motoring manouvres.

The maximum sentence is six months in prison. There is a minimum driving ban of 12 months.

V is for V5 Registration Document

A V5 is the document issued by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) to the keeper of a motor vehicle. It contains all of the information held by the DVLA about that vehicle. It is very important that the keeper of the vehicle makes sure that the records are correct and up-to-date by providing details of changes of address and by sending the relevant part of the V5 to DVLA when the vehicle is sold, scrapped or transferred to somebody else. The V5 used to be known as the Log Book.

W – is for WHEELS

Wheels are vital for all motor vehicles. Wheels have tyres on them and all tyres must have sufficient tread. Cars, light vans and light trailers MUST have a tread depth of at least 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. You can be given three points on your licence and a fine for not having enough tread. That is PER TYRE. So four bald tyres = 4x3 points = 12 points = a potential driving ban as a totter.

X – is for XYLOPHONE

There is no specific law preventing you from driving whilst playing a xylophone. However were you to be caught driving whilst playing a xylophone you could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention or dangerous driving. We strongly suggest that you do not drive whilst playing your xylophone. If you feel the urge then you should pull over in a safe place.

Y is for YOUNG drivers

Young people are allowed to start driving or learning to drive most cars on their 17th birthday. 16 year olds can drive a mowing machine, a pedestrian controlled vehicle or a moped with an engine size of up to 50 cc and a maximum speed of up to 50 km/h. You have to wait until you are 21 to drive most larger vehicles. The rules are quite complicated. Check your driving licence or the DVLA website.

Z is for ZIZ ZAG lines

Zig-zag lines are painted on the road at pedestrian crossings and outside schools. You must not park on the zig-zag lines doing so is dangerous will land you with 3 penalty points and a fine.

M-R of Motoring law

M is for Mobile phone offences

It is an offence to use a mobile phone whilst driving. Many people mistakenly believe that they must be physically engaged in a conversation, with the phone to their ear before they will be charged with an offence. In some circumstances you can even be charged if you are merely holding the phone in your hand, such as if you were reading a text message. The general rule is "if in doubt, don’t get it out!"

The law does not just extend to mobile phones but also to certain sat nav devices, ipads and laptops. Basically any device where there is an element of interactive communication (internet, satellite or telephone communication.) If you have to touch buttons to operate the device, this is likely to be considered committing the offence. Many people get caught with the mobile phone offence, even when they were operating their phones whilst driving with earphones. Earphones will be insufficient as a lawful hands free device as you still have to touch buttons to take and make calls etc.

There are not many defences to the mobile phone offence, other than when you were genuinely not using your phone in which case, phone records are an essential aspect of the evidence we will gather in support of your defence.

N is for No Insurance

A harsh offence carrying a penalty of between 6-8 penalty points can often be committed as a result of disorganisation, rather than a deliberate attempt to avoid paying for insurance. Failing to renew insurance or changing your bank and forgetting to inform the bank who is taking direct debits will not wash with the courts as a defence.

As from 2011 it is also an offence to allow a vehicle to be parked on a road without insurance, so even if the car is not in use it is expected to be insured.

O is for Police Obstruction

If the police signal to you to pull over and you do not stop for them, this is unlikely to be considered to be police obstruction but it is possible that you will face charge for failing to stop when required by a constable. If driving a mechanically propelled vehicle (a car, lorry etc) you face a fine equivalent to 100% of your weekly take home pay up to a maximum £5,000. The maximum fine for cycles is 100% of weekly take home pay up to £1,000.

If the police have to chase you to stop, however, this could be seen in a very dim light but the courts and may even result in prosecution for more serious offences such as dangerous driving.

P is for PACE, The Police And Criminal Evidence Act 1984

The police have a wide range of powers that they use as part of their day to day work to prevent crime and protect the public. The police’s powers are set out in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (which is commonly referred to as PACE). PACE was implemented in order to balance the powers of the police with the rights and freedoms of the general public. The current PACE codes of practice set out police powers, such as a person’s rights and entitlements whilst in police custody and conducting a stop and search. For more information of the safeguards surrounding detention, arrest, interviews and stop and search etc.

A significant breach of these codes can result in crucial evidence in a case being ruled as inadmissible or even a prosecution being considered so flawed that the court dismisses the case.

Q stands for Queries/Questions

If you have any questions about a motoring offence or you require advice and assistance, do not hesitate to contact Geoffrey Miller Solicitors for free specialist advice. Our freephone telephone number is 08000 85 27 84 and our phones are manned every day and night (including bank holidays and weekends) by members of the Geoffrey Miller team (not a call centre).

R stands for Roadside Breath Test

The police have the power to stop anyone at any time – they don’t need to give you a reason – and failing to stop is a criminal offence as explained above.

When pulled over by the police, you may be asked to produce documents including:

driving licence
insurance certificate
vehicle registration document

If you don’t have these with you, you’ll be given seven days to produce them at a police station.

The police are able to request a roadside breath test from an individual if they reasonably suspect that:

you are currently committing, or recently committed, a moving traffic offence;

you have driven or attempted to drive or been in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with alcohol in your body; or

you were driving, attempting to drive, or in charge of a vehicle involved in an accident.that that a person who is driving;

The police only need to have a reasonable suspicion that you are drink driving and the suspicion can be formed once you have been pulled over by a police constable i.e. to conduct a police check.

If you refuse to provide a roadside breath reading this will result in you being arrested and taken to a police station to provide an evidential breath test on an approved breath testing machine. A refusal can also result in being convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to 4 penalty points, a discretionary disqualification and a fine not exceeding £1000.

Unlike in the USA, you are not entitled to refuse providing a roadside test whilst awaiting legal advice. Roadside handheld devices are often faulty and fail to register breath sample attempts so do not despair if you are ever carted off to the police station for failing to register a breath sample at the roadside.

G-L of motoring law

G is for Guilty Plea

Sometimes the best way to handle a motoring case, particularly cases involving serious penalties such as possible prison sentences, is to plead guilty and work on limiting the penalty you face. If you do plead guilty to the offence, the court has the discretion to make a deduction from any sentence they would have imposed because you pleaded guilty at an early stage.

The maximum "credit" you can receive for a guilty plea is a reduction of a third, if you plead guilty at the earliest possible opportunity. You can change a plea of not guilty to one of guilty at any point, even during the trial, however the closer to the trial it is the less credit will be given. In addition, an early guilty plea could make the difference between a custodial sentence and a community order, so in borderline cases the credit on offer should be a serious consideration before deciding on your plea.

Another factor to take into account is that when you plead guilty to an offence, this could enable you to draw a line under events you would rather forget and take your punishment. Defending the charges you face may be an option, but bear in mind, your trial could prolong the scenario by several months and in extreme cases, years.

H is for Highway Code

The Highway Code is a set of guidelines about what constitutes “best practice” when it comes to driving. They are not the same as mandatory legislation, and a breach of the Highway Code does not automatically mean that you have committed any motoring offence. Certain breaches of the Highway Code, such as running a red or steady amber light, have specifically been designated as offences.

The offence of careless driving, sometimes called driving without due care and attention often involves breaches of the Highway Code as a basis for a prosecution. However being in breach of guidance, such as that relating to lane discipline, does not automatically mean that the driving is careless, although it can be taken into account by the judge or magistrates when making their decision as to whether the driving was careless or not.

I is for Intoxilyzer

The handheld devices used at the roadside to measure breath alcohol levels are not currently accurate enough to form the basis of an alcohol related driving charge. As it stands, there are 3 different types of machine which have been approved for use to detect alcohol levels, which are sufficiently accurate to be used in court. These are: The Camic Datamaster, The Lion Intoxilyzer 6000UK and the Intoximeter EC/IR. The quality and reliability of each of these machines varies enormously, and there are different factors which can affect their functionality in different ways.

J is for "Miss Justice"

Our Senior and Managing Partner, Jeanette Miller, has campaigned tirelessly to preserve the right to win your costs back if you win your case. Why should you have to pay to defend yourself, only to be out of pocket if the charges are dropped or if you are acquitted? She has already brought one challenge to the legislation, winning the case in the High Court, and is currently mounting a new campaign to make sure that justice is open for all.

K is for Kit to fight a motoring ticket by yourself: Created by the Senior partner and owner of Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, self help kit “fight a motoring ticket” contains guidance on the legal process, motoring law and possible defences for those who can’t afford professional representation.

L is for Legal advice

The law states that every individual who is under investigation for an offence has the right to free independent legal advice. Whist this is usually satisfactory at the police station, in order to give yourself the best possible chance of securing the result you want, you should instruct a specialist motoring solicitor such as Geoffrey Miller Solicitors who can identify complex legal issues in seconds that general criminal solicitors would miss altogether.

Friday, 6 January 2012

A-Z of motoring law

In order to kick off 2012, the team at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors thought we would produce a (hopefully) useful A to Z guide to some motoring law terms, stats and information.

Below we have letters A - F. Click on the links at the bottom of the page for the rest of the alphabet.

A is for ACPO Guidelines.
ACPO stands for the Association for Chief Police Officers

In 2000 ACPO introduced guidance to reduce the number of speeding offences on the country's roads. The aim and objective was to 'To secure an environment where the individual can use the roads with confidence, free from death and injury, damage or fear.'

Latest statistics published by the Department of Transport suggest that since the introduction of the guidelines, there has been a decrease in vehicles exceeding the speed limit:

In the ten years from 2000, the percentage of vehicles exceeding the 30 mph speed limit on built-up roads has fallen for every vehicle type.

The most significant decrease was for cars. In 2000, 66 per cent of cars travelled at speeds in excess of the limit; by 2010 this dropped to less than half (46 per cent). What can I expect if I am caught exceeding the Speed Limit

Remember that driving at any speed over the limit is an offence. Where police officers consider that an offence has been committed i.e. that a motorist has driven at any speed over the relevant speed limit, they should consider whether it is appropriate to take enforcement action against the offender.

The ACPO guidance given to police officers is that it is anticipated that, other than in the most exceptional circumstances, the issue of fixed penalty notices and summonses is likely to be the minimum appropriate enforcement action as soon as the following speeds have been reached:

Limit Fixed Penalty Summons
20 mph 25 mph 35 mph
30 mph 35 mph 50 mph
40 mph 46 mph 66 mph
50 mph 57 mph 76 mph
60 mph 68 mph 86 mph
70 mph 79 mph 96 mph

This guidance does not replace a police officer's discretion and they may decide to issue a summons or a fixed penalty notice in respect of offences committed at speeds lower than those set out in the table.

Be aware that once a summons has been issued, Magistrates have a wide direction to award penalty points or to disqualify as they feel appropriate depending on the circumstances of the offence.

B is for Breath Test Statistics

The latest published statistics on the number of reported breath tests and breath test failures were published in 2011 and relate to 2010 incidents. These show:

• In the UK there were 263,286 accidents

• Most accidents occur on a Friday at 5.00pm

• Out of 263,286 accidents, 141,240 people were breathalysed

• Out of those breathylsed, 4827 were found to be over the legal limit

• The day most positive breath tests were provided was Saturday

• The time most positive breath tests were given is 23.00 hours

In 2010, it is estimated that 250 people were killed in drink driving accidents, accounting for 14% of all road traffic fatalities.

C is for Courses

If you are charged with a speeding offence or an alcohol related driving offence, there is the possibility you will be offered the opportunity to attend a course to reduce the length of disqualification or to avoid endorsement of points on your licence


National Speed Awareness Course

“The fundamental point of any course is that education, as an alternative to prosecution, must be based on a driver’s mistake, rather than a reckless or intentional act, with the objective that the offender benefits from the course and from thereon this ultimately contributes to road and community safety, with potential environmental benefits.”

Latest Guidance produced by the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2011 recommends the course as an alternative to prosecution, for all speed bands and classes of vehicle speeds, except 20 mph zones. Previous driving history will not be taken into account when making this offer.

The National Speed Awareness Course will allow offenders, who admit the offence of speeding, to be offered a course in the area of their choice, providing the county or force in question has adopted the guidance, to date 37 out of 44 forces in the UK have signed up to the new system.

The thresholds under which the courses will operate have been laid down by ACPO and are at the prosecution threshold of 10% +2 mph to a maximum of 10% +9 mph over the statutory limit. In theory this means that a driver who exceeds the 30mph speed limit up to 42mph or a driver who exceeds the 70mph limit on a motorway up to 86mph may be offered the course as an alternative to endorsement with penalty points.

The course will only be offered as long as there are no other offences being dealt with by way of prosecution. Other conditions are:

• The driver must be the holder of a full or provisional driving
• A course can only be offered if it can be taken up and completed
within the time limits set by the referring force, normally no more
than four months from the date of the offence.
• A course cannot be offered within three years of any previous
offence that was dealt with by a National Speed Awareness Course.

Drink Drivers Rehabilitation Course

Since 1 January 2000, courts throughout England, Wales and Scotland have had an extra sentencing option for drink drive offenders. If you are convicted of an offence involving drinking and driving, the court may offer you the opportunity of attending a rehabilitation course. Completion of a course, each of which is approved by the Government, will entitle you to a reduction of up to a quarter in the period of disqualification.

The content of the course can vary depending on the course provider and a you will be required to pay a fee to attend the course. However please be aware, that the course cannot be offered as an alternative to a disqualification, it can only be offered to reduce the period of disqualification. If you plead guilty to a charge of drink driving or are convicted after a trial the court has a statutory obligation to impose a minimum 12 month period of disqualification.

The court will refer to sentencing guidelines and also take into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender when deciding on length of ban.

D is for Drugs and Driving

The Current Law

If a person is charged with driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs, to secure a conviction, the Crown must prove:

1. That a person was unfit to drive;
2. Through drugs; and
3. His driving was impaired.

An impairment test will be carried out at the roadside and if the police think that person is impaired, a sample of blood will be taken at the police station to detect the presence of drugs ( which includes drugs which are legally prescribed).The penalty is similar to that if convicted of driving with excess alcohol and will result in a minimum 12 month disqualification.

However the Government are now taking steps to implement measures they feel will tackle more effectively the issue of driving while under the influence of drugs.
The move has been driven by concerns in Whitehall that while it is now considered relatively easy to enforce the law against drink-driving, the equally serious offence of driving under the influence of drugs is proving more difficult to deal with effectively.

An independent report by Sir Peter North in 2009 concluded that the problem of drug-driving was "out of all proportion" to the official figures. Recent research by Direct Line claims one in nine motorists aged between 17 and 24 admitted getting behind the wheel while under the influence during the last year. That compares with just one in 11 four years ago. Three in a hundred say they drive on drugs once a month or more.

Sir Peter North's report makes seven recommendations about improving the effectiveness of the present regime against drug-driving. At present the Government have agreed to implement the following:

Within a year, Section 7(3)(c) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 should be amended to allow nurses also to take on the role currently fulfilled by the Forensic Physician in determining whether the drug driving suspect has ‘a condition which might be due to a drug’.

Appropriate training should be provided to all health care professionals who undertake the role of assessing whether suspects have a condition which might be due to a drug in accordance with Section 7(3)(c) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, to ensure an understanding of their specific role and of the potential medical complications which may arise in relation to persons in custody.

The training of Forensic Physicians and custody nurses to carry out the role under Section 7(3)(c) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 of determining whether a suspect has a condition that might be due to a drug should be clear in describing the limits of that role. The training should encourage discussion between the healthcare professionals and the police officers involved in the case, as the observations of the officers might well assist healthcare professionals in answering the question. However, training should discourage their becoming involved in consideration of the evidence of impairment in court, since this is not required under the legislation.

Steps should be taken for the earliest practicable type approval and supply to police stations of preliminary drug screening devices to be used in accordance with Section 6C of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This should be achieved within two years. Type approval ought in the first instance to focus on devices capable, in aggregate, of detection of those drugs or categories of drugs which are the most prevalent, including amongst drivers, namely: • opiates • amphetamines • methamphetamine • cocaine • benzodiazepines • cannabinoids • methadone • ecstasy (MDMA).

An additional Drug Driving Offence?

The North report also makes recommendations for a potential new offence relating to drug-driving:-

As and when research has established the impairing levels of particular controlled drugs or categories of controlled drugs, prescribed levels for such drugs or categories of drugs should be set in legislation and a new offence introduced which makes it unlawful to drive with any of the listed drugs in the body in excess of the prescribed level.

A statutory defence should be available in respect of any new offence of driving with a listed drug or category of drug in the body above the statutory prescribed level if the defendant had taken the drug in accordance with medical advice. This defence should not be available in respect of the impairment offence under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 of driving while unfit due to drugs.

If, despite the above recommendations, it should prove beyond scientific reach to set specific levels of deemed impairment, the Government should consider whether a ‘zero tolerance’ offence should be introduced in relation to the following drugs and categories of drugs:

• opiates
• amphetamines
• methamphetamine
• cocaine
• benzodiazepines
• cannabinoids
• methadone
• ecstasy (MDMA)

rather than continuing to rely solely on the offence of impaired driving under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

If this new offence is introduced, it will effectively remove the need for the police to prove impairment and a conviction would be based on if the level of drug found in blood exceeds a set limit, as is the current law in relation to driving with excess alcohol.

E is for Effects of Alcohol on Driving

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in Great Britain is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08%). This is alternatively expressed in terms of breath alcohol - 35 µg (microgrammes) per 100 ml or alcohol in the urine - 107 mg per 100 ml). If you are caught driving with alcohol levels higher than the prescribed limit you will be charged and have to attend court. However research shows that even at lower levels than the prescribed limit, driving and judgement can be impaired

At a blood alcohol level of 0.02% the following effects can be found
• Some loss of judgement
• Relaxation
• Slight body warmth
• Altered mood
• Decline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target)
• Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)
At a blood alcohol level of 0.05% the following effects can be found
• Exaggerated behaviour
• May have loss of small muscle control (focusing of eyes etc)
• Impaired judgment
• Lowered alertness
• Inhibitions become lowered Reduced co-ordination
• Reduced ability to track moving objects
• Increased difficulty in steering
• Rapid response to emergency driving situations reduced

At the legal limit of 0.08% the following effects can be found:
• Muscle co-ordination is reduced further reduced (balance, speech, vision, reaction times are all reduced)
• Judgment, self control, reasoning and memory are impaired
• Increased difficulty in detecting danger Difficulty concentrating
• Short term memory loss
• Speed control is affected
• Reduced information processing ability (signal detection, visual search, danger perception)
• Impaired perception of surroundings

Therefore the safest option if you intend to drive is to avoid alcohol completely, however if you have been charged with a alcohol related offence and are worried about what will happen and want to know what your options are we offer a free consultation to all motorists and a variety of special offers to prospective clients.

F is for failure to provide a specimen of breath for analysis

If you are stopped for drink driving and fail a roadside test, you will be taken to a police station for a further, more accurate test. The offence of failing to provide a specimen for analysis was created to avoid the situation of someone refusing to provide this further sample for testing, and therefore the police being unable to charge someone with drink driving, just because they refused to blow into the machine. Sometimes there are good reasons why someone may not be able to blow into the machine or unable to give the necessary breath levels – such as asthma or a panic attack – and proving that you had a ‘reasonable excuse’ for failing to provide the specimens acts as a complete defence to this charge.