Drunk driving law by country

Drunk driving law by country


The laws of driving under the influence vary between by countries.

Laws by country - Blood/Alcohol Limit


Central Asia

East Asia

  • China: 0.02% (CNY 200–500 fine, 1–3 months license suspension); 0.08% (up to 15 days prison, 3–6 months license suspension, CNY 500-2000 fine) Ministry of Public Safety

Beginning May 1, 2011, Chinese law now mandates a penal detention up to 6 months for any person convicted of drunken driving. (In China, penal detention is a criminal punishment similar to, but less severe than, imprisonment.)

  • Hong Kong: 0.05% or BrAC 0.22 mg/L or urine 0.067%. Driving under the influence of alcohol beyond legal limit is punishable with a monetary fine and up to three years imprisonment, with 10 driving-offense points and mandatory Driving Improvement Course.
  • Japan: 0.03% (BrAC 0.15 mg/L)
  • Republic of Korea: 0.05%
  • Taiwan: 0.05% (BrAC 0.25 mg/L)

Over 0.05% but under 0.11%: TWD 15,000 to 60,000 fine, and license suspension for 1 year.

0.11% and above: license suspension for 1 year, and charge of offences against public safety with possible prison sentence up to 1 year as the maximum penalty. If the driver is convicted of causing accidents, the penalty shall be increased by half.

If the driver causes serious injuries or death, the license will be suspended for life.

South Asia

  • Pakistan: Alcohol is banned.
  • India: 0.03%.[1] If Suspected by Police, Driver will be taken to Moffusil Police Stations and tested using Breath Analyzer.In Most Towns and Cities, Police Carry Breath Analyzers.
  • Nepal: 0.03%
  • Sri Lanka: 0.06% - Breathalyzer testing is not used routinely. If suspected by police the driver is produced before the closest government medical officer who examines and determines whether the driver is under influence. If the driver refuses examination by the medical officer he is considered to have been under influence by default.

Southeast Asia

Western Asia

  • Armenia: Zero
  • Azerbaijan: Zero
  • Georgia: 0.03%
  • Iran: No limit, alcohol is banned.
  • Israel: 0.05%
  • Jordan: Zero - Breathalyzer testing is not routinely used. If suspected by police the driver is produced before the closest government medical officer who examines and determines whether the driver is under influence.
  • Kuwait: No limit, alcohol is banned.
  • Saudi Arabia: No limit, alcohol is banned.


North America


The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 made it a per se offence to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of 80 mg/100 ml of blood. Refusal of a police officer's demand to provide a breath sample was made an offence at the same time and both began as summary conviction offences, with a mandatory minimum $50 fine.[4]

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a generic term for a series of offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. The main offences are operating a motor vehicle while the ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug, contrary to section 253(a) of the Canadian Criminal Code, and operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, contrary to section 253(b) of the Criminal Code. See Criminal Code Sections 253 to 259 Both offences can be committed by a person who is actually operating or driving a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment or by a person who has care or control of such a vehicle. Care or control includes actual care or control and presumed care or control section 260(1)(a) where the person occupies the driver's seat. The latter is often the case where police find an individual sleeping behind the wheel.

The offences are usually investigated by the police coming across a driver with either an erratic driving pattern or who has been pulled over. The police may immediately have grounds to arrest for impaired driving and make an approved instrument demand under section 254(3). Those grounds are based on various indicia of impairment. If the police merely have a suspicion of alcohol in the individual's body, they may make a demand under section 254(2) requiring the driver to give a sample of his or her breath into an approved screening device, which will determine the driver's blood-alcohol concentration on a preliminary, non-evidentiary basis. Based on the screening device results, if the police believe on reasonable and probable grounds that the driver is committing an offence under section 253 of the Criminal Code, the police can demand that the driver go to the police station to give samples of his or her breath for an approved instrument test, which would be used to prosecute the driver for over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

The minimum punishments for impaired driving and driving over 0.08% are:

  • For the first offence: $1,000 fine, 1-year driving prohibition;
  • For the second offence: 30 days jail, 2-year driving prohibition
  • For the third or subsequent offence: 120 days jail, 3-year driving prohibition.

In addition to the federal criminal laws, all provincial governments have enacted their own measures against impaired driving. Such laws complement the federal laws (part of the double aspect doctrine of Canadian constitutional law). Some provinces will suspend a driver's license upon him or her being charged with impaired driving, rather than being convicted. Some provinces will automatically impose a licence suspension that runs longer than the driving prohibition handed down by the court. Provincial and federal driving prohibitions run concurrently if imposed for the same offence(s)at the same time.

In Ontario, a person convicted of a DUI must also complete an 8 month training course and install an ignition interlock device for a period of one year after the licence suspension. Jail time can be imposed for any first time Criminal Code drinking and driving offence. Jail is appropriate where there is an accident and/or the readings are high. Readings above 160 mg/100mLs are an aggravating circumstance. Jail is the minimum punishment for second and third offences.

Foreigners with recent (in the past 5 years) drunk-driving criminal convictions are generally refused entry at the border. Canada's Immigration Act section 36 considers any foreign drinking and driving outstanding charge or conviction as an Indictable offence unless a prosecutor has chosen to proceed by summary conviction.

On January 27, 2001, Andrei Knyazev, a Russian diplomat in Canada killed a Canadian woman while drinking and driving. He was imprisoned in Russia. This incident triggered a crackdown on drunk driving by diplomats in Canada.

On Dec 15, 2005, Charly Hart of Watford, Ontario, a man with a 35-year history of impaired driving which included thirty-nine convictions, was on the occasion of his latest such conviction sentenced to six years in prison, the most severe penalty ever handed down in Canada when the offence did not involve a fatality, and the maximum sentence permitted under the law.[5]


Foreigners with recent (in the past 10 years) drunk-driving criminal convictions are generally refused entry at the border. Mexico's Immigration Act section 36 considers any foreign drinking and driving outstanding charge or conviction as an Indictable offense (similar to a felony).

United States

A 1937 poster warns US drivers about the dangers of mixing alcohol and driving.

Some states now have two statutory offenses.[6] The first is the traditional offense, variously called driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI)[7] or operating while intoxicated/impaired (OWI). The second and more recent is the so-called illegal per se offense of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% (previously 0.10%) or higher. In most states, the timing of the chemical test is important because the law mandates a result within a given time period after the driving stopped, usually two hours.[8] The first offense requires proof of intoxication, although evidence of BAC is admissible as rebuttably presumptive evidence of that intoxication; the second requires only proof of BAC at the time of being in physical control of a motor vehicle. An accused may be convicted of both offenses, but may only be punished for one.[9] The differences between state penalties still wavers. Wisconsin, for instance, is the only state that continues to treat first offense drunk driving arrests as forfeiture.[10]

It is also a criminal offense in all states to drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs DUID, or under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs; the drugs themselves need not be illegal, but can be prescription or even over-the-counter. In some states, the effects of some herbal remedies (such as Kava Kava extract) fall into this category. Several states also have enacted statutes to create a DUI offense by virtue of huffing noxious fumes, such as glue sniffing or inhaling similar volatile chemical fumes. [5]. DUI-impairment statutes require that violations be supported by evidence of impairment as a result of the drugs or drugs and alcohol, or by any noxious vapors. Some states have recently passed laws making driving with the mere presence of certain drugs (such as marijuana or its metabolites) a criminal offense. These new statutes are sometimes referred to as DUI-drugs per se statutes.

Some states also include a lesser charge of driving with a BAC of 0.05%; other states limit this offense to drivers under the age of 21. All states and DC also now have zero tolerance laws: the license of anyone under 21 driving with any detectable alcohol in their bloodstream (BAC limits of 0.01% or 0.02% apply in some states, such as Florida.[11]) will be suspended. In 2009, Puerto Rico joined these states, setting a limit of 0.02 for drivers under 21, despite maintaining a legal drinking age of 18.[12]

The blood-alcohol limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%.[13] Commercial drivers are also subject to stricter punishments for exceeding the blood-alcohol limit. According to the NHTSA, "Drivers are considered to be alcohol-impaired when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Thus, any fatality occurring in a crash involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher is considered to be an alcohol-impaired-driving fatality. The term “driver” refers to the operator of any motor vehicle, including a motorcycle." [14]

Signs like this warn drivers about the dangers of driving under the influence and how "you can't afford it". This sign is common in Pennsylvania (Handbook Of Approved Signs I60-1).

Pilots of aircraft may not fly less than eight hours after consuming alcohol, while under the impairing influence of alcohol or any other drug, or while showing a blood alcohol concentration equal to or greater than 0.04 grams per decilitre of blood.[15]

The various versions of "driving under the influence" generally constitute a misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail). However, the offense may be elevated to a felony (punishable by a longer term in state prison) if the incident caused serious injury (felony DUI), death (vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide), or extensive property damage (a state specified dollar amount) or if the defendant has a designated number of prior DUI convictions within a given time period (commonly, 3 prior convictions within 7 years). California, which is being followed by a growing number of states, now charges second-degree murder where the legal state of mind of malice exists—that is, where the defendant exhibited a reckless indifference to the lives of others.

The aftermath of a drunk driving car crash is simulated as part of an anti-drunk driving campaign for California high school students.

A California DUI arrest triggers two separate cases–one in court and another at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The criminal case typically involves two different counts. The first, under California Penal Code section 23152(a), is driving under the influence of alcohol, which is commonly known as the "a" count. The second offense, under California Penal Code section 23152(b), is a related charge of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater–the "b" count. The second charge is the one that triggers the California Department of Motor Vehicles DUI case, where the California DMV will attempt to suspend the motorist's driving privileges.[16]

Drivers convicted of DUI criminal court face substantial punishment that can include fines, jail time, probation, alcohol education school, and a driver's license suspension that separate from the one imposed after a lost DMV hearing. The amount of punishment depends on the facts of the case, including how many prior DUI convictions the driver has[citation needed].

California DUI convictions count as prior offenses for 10 years, meaning that drivers who are arrested for DUI within a decade of a prior drunk driving offense will be charged with a repeat offense. If more than 10 years has passed since a prior DUI arrest, a subsequent drunk driving offense will be charged as a first offense. The time period is measured from arrest date to arrest date[citation needed].

Anyone arrested for DUI in California must request a DMV hearing within 10 days or have their driver's license automatically suspended[citation needed]. The California DMV hearing that follows a DUI arrest is a civil matter, not a criminal case, so there is a much lower standard of proof than in criminal court. Whereas in criminal court guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, at the DMV the standard of proof is by a "preponderance of the evidence," which is often described as "50 percent plus a feather." This means that the DMV hearing officer must only establish that it's more likely than not that the driver violated California DUI laws.

The hearing officer at a California DMV hearing acts as both judge and prosecutor. The issues at hand will depend on whether the driver took a chemical test to determine the blood alcohol content, or BAC. If the driver took a breath or blood test to determine the BAC, the DMV hearing officer will seek to establish three facts - whether police had probable cause to arrest the driver, whether the arrest was lawful, and whether the driver had a BAC of .08 percent or greater in violation of California law. If the driver is accused of refusing a chemical test, the hearing officer will seek to establish whether the driver was properly advised of the consequences of refusing the test, and whether he or she continued to refuse after receiving that warning.

Drivers who lose their DMV hearings following a California DUI arrest face substantial driver's license suspensions. The length of the driver's license suspension depends on how many prior DUI arrests the driver has and whether or not a chemical test was taken. For example, a first-time DUI arrest where the driver took a chemical test will result in a four-month suspension, while a first-time arrest with a chemical test refusal will result in a one-year driver's license suspension[citation needed].

DUI Investigation

One of three things must happen to trigger a DUI investigation: There must be an observed violation of the law, a driving pattern so suggestive of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs so as to provide a reasonable suspicion that a crime has taken place, or a lawful roadblock or checkpoint.

One reason drivers are stopped on suspicion of DUI is because of driving patterns such as weaving, driving too slowly, or rapid braking or acceleration. Some of the most common reasons police stop drivers, such as speeding, aren’t recognized as DUI driving patterns by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.[17]

Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
  • Law enforcement officers conduct Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), including the use of portable breath analyzers (PBAs) for the purposes of determining if probable cause exists for an arrest. Until an arrest has been made, a motorist is under no obligation to perform any test. Most states[citation needed] consider such a pre-arrest refusal inadmissible in court.
  • Depending on previous offenses or refusals, licenses may be automatically suspended for a period of 90 days to five years, or permanently revoked for multiple DWI convictions (Connecticut).
  • As of 2010, only eight states did not have ALS laws: Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Tennessee.[18]

An SR-22 is an official documentation required to redeem a suspended drivers license and get a car registered at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A SR22 Filing is a form issued by an insurance company which removes a suspension order placed by the DMV's office on an individual's driving privilege. The most common reason for an SR22 filing is an arrest for Driving Under Intoxication (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).[19] The filing provides a guarantee to the state that an insurance company has issued at least minimum liability coverage for the person making that filing and that the insurance company will notify the DMV should the insurance ever lapse for any reason.

  • Drivers in the state of Florida who are not lawfully arrested with reasonable cause by a law enforcement officer, DO NOT have to submit to any "on the spot" chemical or physical alcohol testing.[20]
  • In Arizona, a refusal to submit to a chemical test often results in the police obtaining a search warrant and, if necessary, forcibly taking the suspect's blood.


Central America

South America


Drivers below a 0.05% BAC will be given a warning. At a 0.05% and over, the driver will be given a fine and a license suspension of no less than 6 months and no more than 2 years. If the driver is involved in an accident without causing death or severe injury to another individual, he or she may possibly face jail time. If the driver's causes an accident with a BAC over 1.01%, involving death or severe injury to another party, he or she will receive a mandatory prison sentence of 3 to 5 years. The driver's license will also be permanently revoked.


Drink-driving limits in Europe (blood alcohol content)

European Union

  • Austria: 0.05% and 0.01% for drivers who have held a licence for less than 2 years and drivers of vehicles over 7.5 tonnes
  • Belgium: 0.05%[21]
  • Bulgaria: 0.05%
  • Czech Republic: Zero[21]
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark: 0.05%, imprisonment if over 0.20%, zero if not driving safely. Fine one month pay less tax * (alcohol%*10).
  • Estonia: 0.02%[22]
  • Finland: 0.05%,[21] 0.12% (aggravated) Penalty is a fine plus license suspension from 1 month to 5 years. For aggravated, also prison sentence is possible, usually as a suspended sentence. Routine breath testing without a probable cause is permitted and often practiced.
  • France: 0.05%,[21] 0.08% (aggravated)
  • Germany: zero for beginners (less than 2 years' experience and drivers under the age of 21) as well as drivers making commercial transportation of passengers; 0.03% in conjunction with any other traffic offense or accident; 0.05% without evidence of alcoholic impact; penalty for 0.11% is driver licence withdrawn for about one year; for 0.16% regranting of the licence requires a successful Medical Psychological Assessment[23]
  • Greece: 0.05% (BrAC 0.25 mg/L)%[21] and 0.02% for drivers who have held a license for less than 2 years, motor cycle and professional drivers
  • Hungary: Zero[21]
  • Ireland: 0.05% generally or 0.02% for learner drivers, newly qualified drivers (those who have their license for less than two years) and professional drivers, and those who do not have their driving license on them when stopped by the Gardaí (police).[24] Unlike other European countries, Police do not need a reason to request a breath sample. Being convicted of drunk driving usually carries a 2 year ban as well as a €1500 fine.[25]
  • Italy: 0.05%, 0.08% (aggravated, up to 6 months imprisonment), 0.15% (aggravated, 3 to 12 months imprisonment), zero for drivers with less than 3 years' experience and professional drivers (bus, trucks etc...)[21]
  • Latvia: 0.02% for drivers with less than 2 years of experience and 0.05% for those with more than 2 years of experience
  • Lithuania: 0.02% for drivers with less than 2 years of experience and 0.04% for those with more than 2 years of experience[21]
  • Luxembourg: 0.05% and 0.02% for professional drivers and drivers with less than 2 years of experience (since October 1, 2007)
  • Malta: 0.08%[21]
  • Netherlands: 0.05%,[21] 0.02% for drivers with less than 5 years' experience
  • Poland: 0.02% (driving license banned from six months up to three years, prison up to one month), 0,05% (driving license banned from 1 year to 10 years, prison up to two years)[21]
  • Portugal: 0.05%[21]
  • Romania: 0.0%
  • Slovakia: Zero[21]
  • Slovenia: Zero for drivers with 2 years or less experience and professional drivers, 0.24 mg/l (0.05%) for all others.
  • Spain: 0.05%[26] and 0.03% for drivers with less than 2 years experience and drivers of freight vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and of passenger vehicles with more than 9 seats.
  • Sweden: 0.02% (up to 6 months imprisonment), 0.10% (imprisonment, maximum 2 years), zero (if not driving safely.)
  • United Kingdom: 0.08%[21]

Note: "Zero" usually means "below detection limit".

In the UK, driving or attempting to drive whilst above the legal limit or unfit through drink carries a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000 and a minimum 12 months' driving ban. A drunk-driving offense remains recorded on a driving licence for 11 years. Being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the legal limit or unfit through drink could result in three months' imprisonment plus a fine of up to £2,500 and a driving ban.

It is an offence to refuse to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis. The penalties for refusing are equivalent to those applied where a positive specimen is given; a maximum six months' imprisonment, a fine of up to £5000 and a minimum 12 months' driving ban. Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, a minimum two-year driving ban and a requirement to pass an extended driving test before the offender is able to drive legally again.

The offense of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol is one to which there is no defense, as such. However, it may be possible to argue that special reasons exist which are such that you should not be disqualified from driving despite having committed the offense. Reasons which have been held to amount to special reasons include:

  • shortness of distance driven
  • unintentional commission of the offense (i.e. laced drinks)
  • emergencies

Note, however, that special reasons are notoriously difficult to establish and the burden of proof is always upon the accused to establish them.

Magistrates sentencing guidelines

In England and Wales when DWI offenders appear before a Magistrates Court, the Magistrates have guidelines they refer to before they decide on a suitable sentence to give the offender. These guidelines are issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council [27] and cover offences for which sentence is frequently imposed in a magistrates’ court when dealing with adult offenders.

Offences can either be tried summarily which means they can only be heard in the magistrates court or they can be either way offences which means magistrates may find their sentencing powers are insufficient and indict the case to crown court. The majority of drunk driving offences are summary only offences which can only be tried in a magistrates court. Only the most serious offences such as a collision and/or death/injury involved are indicted to crown court. The maximum sentence magistrates can usually impose is a £5,000 fine and/or a six-month prison sentence.

Other European countries

  • Albania: 0.01%[21]
  • Belarus: 0.03%[28]
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: 0.05%
  • Croatia: Zero for professional drivers and drivers under 24 years of age, 0.05% for all others[29]
  • Gibraltar: 0.05% [30]
  • Iceland: 0.05%[21]
  • Liechtenstein: 0.08%
  • Macedonia: Zero for professional drivers, public service drivers, commercial transport and drivers beginners, 0.05% for all others [31]
  • Moldova: 0.03%[21]
  • Norway: 0.02%[21]. Punishment depends on the alcohol level. 0.02% (fine and suspended license), 0.05% (fine, suspended sentence and suspended lincense), 0.10% (fine, suspended or mandatory sentence and suspended license), 0.15% (fine, mandatory sentence and suspended license). The guidelines state that the fine for an alcohol level of more than 0.05% should be around 1.5 months base salary and usually not lower than 10.000 NOK. For 0.02-0.05% the fine is lower. Prison sentences are usually around 3 weeks to 3 months with a maximum of 1 year. The suspension period varies from less than a year to 2 years. [32]
  • Russia: 0.00%[33]
  • Switzerland: 0.05%[21]
  • Serbia: 0.03% for all, zero for professional drivers, public service drivers, commercial transport and drivers beginners
  • Turkey: 0.05%,[21] zero for commercial transport and public service drivers.
  • Ukraine: Zero



A roadside warning in Victoria, Australia.

Road laws are state or territory based, but all states and territories have set similar rules.

In Australia, laws allow police officers to stop any driver and perform a random breath test without reason. Roadblocks can be set up - for example leading out of town centres on Friday and Saturday nights, or during football or other events - where every single driver will be breath-tested. This differs from UK and US laws, where police generally need a reason to suspect that the driver is intoxicated, before requesting a breath and/or sobriety test.

Australian Capital Territory
  • Zero for drivers and motorcyclists holding a learner, provisional, restricted or probationary licence and for drivers operating heavy vehicles over 15t GVM or driving a public vehicle for hire or reward (for example taxi and bus drivers).[34]
  • 0.05% for all other drivers and motorcyclists.[35]
New South Wales
  • Zero for Learner and Provisional licences
  • 0.02% for Drivers of vehicles of "gross vehicle mass" greater than 13.9 tonnes, vehicles carrying dangerous goods or public vehicles such as a taxi or bus.
  • 0.05% for all other drivers
  • Zero limit for methamphetamine, Cannabis and MDMA.
Northern Territory
  • Zero for provisional (probationary) licence holders.
  • 0.05% for all other drivers.
  • A Zero limit applies to the drivers of trucks, buses, articulated vehicles, vehicles carrying dangerous goods, pilot vehicles, taxis, all learner drivers and provisional drivers.
  • 0.05% for other drivers.
  • Zero limit for methamphetamine, Cannabis and MDMA.
South Australia
  • Zero limit for learner, provisional, probationary, heavy (greater than 15 tonne) vehicle, taxis, licensed chauffeured vehicles, dangerous goods, and bus licenses.
  • 0.05% for all other drivers.
  • Zero limit for methamphetamine, Cannabis and MDMA.
  • Zero limit for learner, provisional, truck, bus, and taxi licences.
  • 0.05% for all other drivers.
  • Zero limit for methamphetamine, Cannabis and MDMA.
  • Zero limit applies for unlicensed drivers, holders of learner permits and probationary licences, "professional" drivers, and certain relicensed drunk-drivers.
  • Below 0.05% for most other drivers.
  • Zero limit for methamphetamine, Cannabis and MDMA.

There are also other restrictions for drivers in Victoria:

  • Limits apply within 3 hours of driving - that is, police can require a person to submit to an alcohol or drugs test within 3 hours of driving and it is an offense to fail that test, unless the drug or alcohol use occurred after driving (see Road Safety Act 1986, ss. 49, 53 and 55E).
  • Licenses canceled for certain serious drunk-driving offenses may only be reissued after obtaining a court order. This is the case for repeat offenders, and first offenders above 0.15% . In such cases, the relicensed driver is subject to a zero limit for 3 years following relicensing, or for as long as the person is required to use an alcohol interlock.
  • Alcohol interlocks must be imposed whenever a repeat drunk-driver is relicensed.
  • A court also has discretion to impose an alcohol interlock when relicensing a first offender in certain serious cases, generally when the offense involves a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
  • The law requires interlocks to be used for certain minimum periods, but the requirement to use an interlock does not automatically end at the completion of the minimum period. Once that period has expired, an individual may apply to a court to have the interlock condition removed from their driver's licence. The State Police must be given notice of the application and may make submissions to the court on whether the interlock condition should be removed. The court will also take into account data recorded by the interlock itself (e.g. whether any attempts were made to start the vehicle by a person who had been drinking).
  • Driving without an interlock when one is required carries severe penalties, including imprisonment.
  • If a doctor sees any patient who is aged 15 years or over as a result of a motor vehicle accident, the patient must allow the doctor to take a blood sample for testing for alcohol and drug content in a way that preserves the chain of evidence. If this process is skipped the doctor may not be able to discover the alcohol blood level. The results can be used as evidence in subsequent court proceedings.
  • The law allows a police officer to require any driver (or any person who has driven a vehicle within the last three hours) to perform a random saliva test for methamphetamine, Cannabis or MDMA, all of which are subject to a zero limit (see Road Safety Act 1986: ss. 49, 55E & 55D)
Western Australia
  • 0.02% for learner, provisional (probationary) licence holders (0.00% as from July 1, 2008) or persons convicted of driving under the influence (for three years after the offense) and failing to comply with a request for breath, blood or urine (for three years after the offense).
  • 0.05% for all other drivers.

Readings over 0.08% but under 0.15% BAC, and 0.15% BAC and above (legally defined as Drunk Driving) comprise separate offenses, the latter attracting heavier penalties. Persistent offenders may be barred from driving for terms up to and including life, and may also be imprisoned.

The law allows a police officer to require any driver to perform a random saliva test for methamphetamine, Cannabis or MDMA, all of which are subject to a zero limit

New Zealand

The system in New Zealand is age-based.[36] Since midnight on 7 August 2011, the limits are:-

  • 0.08% BAC for persons 20 years and over (or 400μg/L breath)
  • Zero limit for persons under 20 years.

The penalties for exceeding the limits are:

  • Persons under 20 years, up to 0.03% - instant NZ$200 fine and 50 demerit points
  • Persons under 20 years, 0.03% to 0.08% - up to 3 months imprisonment and/or up to NZ$2250 fine; loss of license for three months or more.
  • All persons over 0.08% (first and second offenses) - up to 3 months imprisonment and/or up to NZ$4500 fine; loss of license for six months or more.
  • All persons over 0.08% (third and subsequent offenses) - 2 years imprisonment; NZ$6000 fine; loss of license for one year or more.

The penalty for injuring or killing someone when under the influences is the same as dangerous driving (up to 5 years imprisonment and/or up to NZ$20,000; loss of license for one year or more.)


See also


  1. ^ This is according to section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988. On a first offense, the punishment is imprisonment of 6 months and/or fine of 2000 Indian Rupees (INR). If the second offense is committed within three years, the punishment is 2 years and/or fine of 3000 Indian Rupees (INR). The clause of 30 mg/dL was added by an amendment in 1994. It came into effect beginning 14 November 1994.
  2. ^ In April of 2010 Vientiane Traffic Police Department launched operation A+E (Awareness and Enforcement) to crack down on driving offences including drunk driving. The KPL Lao news release April 6, 2010 mentions the national legal limit as 80mgs.
  3. ^ http://www.icap.org/Table/BACLimitsWorldwide
  4. ^ Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (May 1999). Toward Eliminating Impaired Driving — Chapter 2: Legislative Background. Parliament of Canada. http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/committee/361/juri/reports/rp1031597/jurirp21/09-ch2-e.htm#0.2.5FPCNZ.3YC5UE.7ZN1CF.D3. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  5. ^ "Man gets 6 years for drunk driving". CBC News. 2005-12-05. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/12/15/20051215-drunkdriving.html. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  6. ^ See, e.g., Cal. Vehicle Code sec. 23152(a) and (b) retrieved October 8, 2008
  7. ^ See, e.g., N.Y. Vehicle and traffic law, section 1192, found at New York Assembly official web site. Go to "Bill Search and Legislative Materials", then "New York State Laws." Accessed March 17, 2008.
  8. ^ http://www.duiattorney.com/dui-basics/test-timing
  9. ^ E.g., People v. Cosko, 152 Cal. App. 3d 54, 199 Cal. Rptr. 289 (1984), citing Cal. Penal Code sec. 654
  10. ^ Walters, Steven. "First drunken driving offense shouldn't be a crime, Van Hollen says" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel17 Jan 2009.
  11. ^ "Florida DUI Laws". http://autoinsurancetips.com/florida-dui-laws. 
  12. ^ http://www.inform.com/article/Puerto%20Rico%20OKs%20one%20lowest%20drunk-driving%20limits Puerto Rico OKs one lowest drunk-driving limits
  13. ^ 49 CFR 382.20
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ 14 CFR 91.17, also known as Federal Air Regulation 91.17
  16. ^ http://www.californiaduihelp.com
  17. ^ http://www.californiaduihelp.com/dui_investigation/dui_investigations.asp
  18. ^ DUI/DWI laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, February 2010
  19. ^ http://www.californiaduihelp.com/insurance/sr_22.asp
  20. ^ Florida Administrative Suspension Laws (Accessed 14 May 2008)
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits Worldwide, International Centre For Policy Studies. Page retrieved 30 October 2006
  22. ^ Liiklusseadus [Traffic Act]. In Estonian. Riigi Teataja
  23. ^ Medical-psychological assessment as prerequisites for regranting of licences
  24. ^ RTÉ News - New drink-driving laws in effect (29 October 2011)
  25. ^ Irish Independent - "One pint too much as drive limit cut"
  26. ^ El alcohol y la conducción (page in Spanish). Page retrieved 30 October 2006.
  27. ^ Sentencing Guidelines Council
  28. ^ С 12 августа допустимый уровень содержания алкоголя в крови снижен до 0,3 промилле
  29. ^ "Nula promila ukida se od 1. lipnja" (in Croatian). Vjesnik. April 25, 2008. http://www.vjesnik.com/Html/2008/04/25/Clanak.asp?r=unu&c=3. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  30. ^ UK Government Advice on Gibraltar Page retrieved 30 October 2006.
  31. ^ No.234 [2] in Macedonian
  32. ^ [3](page in Norwegian). Page retrieved 21. June 2011.
  33. ^ (Russian) Medvedev signed the law, completely abolishing any alcohol limits. Even minimal alcohol content will lead to revoking of the driving licence [4]
  34. ^ "Drunk Driving Penalties". CFS Canberra. October 7, 2011. http://www.cityfirstsolicitors.com/v1/drink-driving. Retrieved 2011-10-7. 
  35. ^ "Drunk Driving Penalties". CFS Canberra. October 7, 2011. http://www.cityfirstsolicitors.com/v1/drink-driving. Retrieved 2011-10-7. 
  36. ^ New Zealand's alcohol limits LTSA website

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