Suppose I have a drink, then drive home after an hour. If I get stopped at a police ride check, I usually say I have not consumed any alcohol, because I don't want to take a breathalyzer test or risk the small chance of blowing just over the limit. What crimes, if any, am I committing by lying to the police in this case? What are the punishments? Is this crime often prosecuted? I'm specifically wondering about Canada.

Note: Drunk driving is obviously bad, and I don't do it. This question is not about "how to get away with drunk driving", but rather about the consequences of lying to police about having one or two drinks, which I assume many people do.

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    FYI, while this would probably be a crime (lying to a police officer about a material matter or something like that), it wouldn't be perjury, as it wouldn't be a statement made under oath.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 0:49
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    It doesn't take much alcohol to negatively impact one's driving. Note that a well trained officer will immediately know you are lying. It's common for officers to have a small concealed device that measures your alcohol level as soon as they get near you. It measures the alcohol in your breath without your knowledge (or consent). Be aware that in many jurisdictions, driving after a 2 drinks (and possibly even 1) can definitely get you arrested. And if you injure or kill someone in the process, your life - and those of the other people you negatively impacted - will likely never be the same. Commented May 25, 2022 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


You’ll get caught in the lie

Since 2018, Canada has had mandatory alcohol screening which means the police can demand a breath test from anyone they have stopped irrespective of if they suspect they have been drinking or not.

Now, while there are no legal consequences for lying to a police officer in this way (because it does not rise to obstruction of justice or obstruction of a peace officer), human nature being what it is, doing so and being caught is likely to cause the officer to suspect your motives and might prolong the traffic stop. Since there isn’t a vehicle anywhere that can’t be defected for something if you look hard enough, you might not want that.

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    It would clearly be better not to say anything to police. So many problems with police could be avoided by the spontaneous development of selective muteism
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 17:31

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