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22 June, 2024
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Refusing Breathalyzer test lands man in jail

Controversial law pits driver against cops during arrest at police station


Paphos traffic police arrested a driver for refusing to comply with a secondary Breathalyzer test and attacking a police officer.

The man, a 48-year-old driver Russian national who is a permanent resident, was stopped by police on Monday around 8:50pm on Tombs of the Kings Avenue.

Officers, who said the man was driving 83 kilometres per hour in a 50 km zone, proceeded to administer an initial Breathalyzer test.

Police said the driver registered a blood alcohol level of 160μg%, which is eight times higher than the legal limit of 22μg%.

A statement later said the man attacked a police officer upon hearing he was being placed under arrest for not providing a secondary sample

When officers took the man to the station for further tests, the driver refused to submit to a second and final Breathalyzer test, according to police.

A statement later said the man attacked a police officer upon hearing he was being placed under arrest for not providing a secondary sample.

A number of cops got involved and managed to keep the man down, arresting him and booking him in the process.

Paphos traffic police and the town’s small offences unit are investigating the incident.

Tough laws under public scrutiny

A number of concerns have been raised in the public domain over the right of drivers to refuse a Breathalyzer test or risk going to jail. But police have said repeatdely they need more tools at their disposal, as they try to bring down the number of fatal road accidents. 

Recent laws were toughened, giving more options for police officers to arrest violators whom they suspect of driving under the influence.

But Cyprus police have also been criticised for not providing alternatives, such as a sobriety test, essentially giving drivers only a choice between a Breathalyzer test and jail.

Police regulations state that a person who refuses a secondary Breathalyzer test, or refused to go to the police station for secondary inspection, is subject to a jail sentence up to two years, a fine up to €5000, driving permit suspension up to one year, or any of the above.

Refusing to give a secondary sample during a Breathalyzer test also carries 1 to 6 points on the penalty point system, according to the regulations.

Fines can also be assessed based on the speed of a vehicle and the alcohol blood level over the limits allowed under the law.

Cyprus  |  traffic  |  alcohol  |  Breathalyzer  |  police  |  Paphos  |  law  |  speed limit

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