Don't fail your MAS. Read why it is important not to refuse your breathalyzer test

A Perfect Storm – DUI Lawyer’s Opinion on MAS During Every Roadside Stop

The Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) program isn’t something completely new. The Canadian Parliament enacted C-46 six years ago in 2018. Historically, the officer needed to have some kind of reason or suspicion to ask you to provide a breath sample. But recently, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) revitalized it as part of stricter measures to decrease the number of impaired drivers and made it obligatory during every traffic stop.

What Is Mandatory Alcohol Screening?

Random (spoiler: not so random anymore) breath testing or Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) is when a police officer uses a roadside breathalyzer device to check whether alcohol is in your blood. You take a looong exhale, and after less than 10 seconds, you see your desired 0%. But what if something went wrong? 

When an officer lawfully stops you and demands a breath sample, your first screening test results won’t go to court as the basis of a Criminal Code charge. However, they can give the police a basis to demand a second test on an approved screening device. And this is when things get complicated, because its results CAN be used as the basis of a Criminal Code DUI charge.

What Is a DUI Charge?

In Ontario, a DUI is short for driving under the influence. Even if this is your first offense, it can come with some serious penalties. For example, the minimum charge for a DUI is 1,000$. But that isn’t money you should be worried about. We understand that being pulled over is already a stressful situation in which not everyone knows how to act. That’s why your number one priority is to behave and try not to make things more complicated. 

MAS Become Even More Mandatory in 2024

The 2nd of May brought major changes to Toronto and the GTA’s roads. Now, you need to provide a breath sample during EVERY roadside stop, regardless of the primary reason for your stop. Ontario Provincial Police introduced these measures to keep impaired drivers off the road. Additionally, many consider MAS to be one of the most efficient methods of deterring under-influence driving.

Why now? GTA is experiencing a massive growth of crashes, occurrences and impaired driving accidents. They increased here by 50%, while across Ontario, 8,000 DUI charges in 2019 turned out to be 11,000 in 2023. No wonder the OPP decided to increase security measures. However, it has questionable consequences since opinions are already divided. Some think that it will only cause additional traffic on the roads. Others believe that they are law-abiding enough, so they have nothing to fear. But what do professionals, like the best impaired driving lawyer Jonathan Lapid, think on such worrying news?

DUI Attorney Opinion

As with everything randomly appearing in your life, people need some time to get used to it. Although it is a great initiative to make roads safer and lessen the number of accidents, “this section of mandatory testing has yet to be used in a meaningful and full-some way” Jonathan says.

At first, such a proactive measure can lead to some overly inclusive criminalization of citizens who do not know their rights and will, therefore, be caught in a situation where they make a mistake. By mistake, he means NOT providing a breath sample. Regardless of the alcohol/drug presence in your blood, such disobedience leads to your first-ever criminal charge. 

You may be absolutely right on both sights – being sober for a long time and not wanting to do what you are told, yet the law is the same for everyone. If you are inexperienced in the law and do not know that you are not entitled to roadside counsel, DO NOT try to justify your decision not to provide a breath sample on the basis that you had zero alcohol to drink. Unfortunately, it just won’t work.

Jonathan Lapid concluded: “It will be important for the Supreme Court of Canada to weigh in on the constitutionality of this section of the legislation!” While we are awaiting further changes, do not hesitate to contact the experienced DUI lawyer in Brampton. Jonathan always answers all calls and provides extensive information about recent law changes.

So How Does A Traffic Stop Looks Like Now?

As the police officer explained, even with recent changes, your traffic stop looks almost the same:

  1. The officer pulls you over for the most popular reasons be – distracted driving, speeding, having a cell phone stopping in the not appropriate place for it;
  2. Then, the officer introduces him or herself and tells you the reason for the stop;
  3. Regardless of the primary reason, you will be asked to perform a breath test;
  4. In any case, DO NOT refuse to perform a breath test. It leads to a criminal record!;
  5. If everything is ok, the officer will just leave you to go.  

If something went wrong and you were charged for breath sample refusal or failure – try to stay calm. Contact Jonathan Lapid as soon as you are able to do so. We will carefully guide you through every step and support you in court. We’ll do our best to drop your DUI charges!

The laws can change, but our dedication to your protection won’t. MAS makes your case more complicated, but that doesn’t mean we won’t win it!