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Do I have to give a bodily sample to the police?

If nothing else, it is interesting to learn about when police authorities can ask us for a bodily sample. Wouldn’t you say so? Before we delve into this topic, let’s start by outlining the scope of what a bodily sample may include. A bodily sample may include a urine sample, a blood sample, a piece of hair, a swab from the inside of the mouth and a saliva sample.

When Must One give the Police a Bodily Sample

So, the question is, when are you required to give the police a bodily sample? Well, a person is required to give the police a bodily sample if any one of the following circumstances apply:

  • officers believe a person has been drinking and driving and he or she can not give a breath sample
  • officers believe a person has been taking drugs and driving,
  • officers have a warrant that says a person must give them a sample, or
  • the court has ordered a person to give them a sample.

Why might the Court give the Police a Warrant to Collect Bodily Sample?

The court may give the police a warrant to collect a bodily sample from a person to:

  • do a DNA profile to determine if the person was at a crime scene
  • perform a blood alcohol concentration test to determine if the person were driving while impaired
  • add the DNA data bank if the person were convicted of a primary designated offence or secondary designated offence

What Happens if you Refuse to Provide a Bodily Sample Backed by a Warrant?

If the police have a warrant to collect a bodily sample from you and you refuse, you may be charged with obstruction or even assault. The police can use as much force as necessary to get the bodily sample authorized by the warrant.

It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with a court order. It is also a criminal offence to fail to comply with a demand for a bodily sample if the police want to check for alcohol impairment. Officers do not need a reason to ask you to take a breath test.

When can you Refuse to Provide a Bodily Sample?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. The Charter also protects you from being deprived unnecessarily of your life, liberty, and security. Taking bodily samples from a suspect without a warrant violates these rights.

If the police do not have a warrant or court order that says you must give them a bodily sample, you do not have to agree to give them a sample, depending on the circumstances. It is always advised that you speak to a lawyer right away if the police ask you to give them a bodily sample to understand your rights.

On the contrary, drinking and driving has different rules when it comes to the requirement of providing bodily samples. If you refuse to comply with a demand for a bodily sample when the police believe you have been driving while impaired, you can be charged criminally with failure to comply with a demand.

The Aitken Robertson Team

If you are still left with questions after this blog, then feel free to give our office a call as we are happy to assist you further. If you have a case at present or know someone who is charged with a failure to comply with providing a bodily sample or any other charge, our knowledge and skilled lawyers can provide legal representation. Our office offers free 30-minute consultations and charges legal fees on a flat fee basis, which is preferable for clients.

Yasmine Al-Zaman

Yasmine’s patience, compassion and understanding allow her to work collaboratively and effectively with her clients. She appreciates the level of fear and confusion most people feel when confronted with the legal system. With that in mind, Yasmine puts her best foot forward to offer quality legal services.

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