Thursday, 18 July 2013

Drinking and Driving in Spain - Do You Know the Consequences?

The sun is out, the sky is blue, evenings are warmer and longer so the temptation to get together with friends for a drink is probably higher up the to do list than normal. But how many alcoholic drinks can you have before you are over the limit to drive and what are the consequences?

Realistically, we all know the consequences and always intend to have 'just the one', but a second/third one won't hurt will it?

At present the levels of alcohol allowed in Spain before driving are as follows:

General Drivers - 0.3mg alcohol per litre of air or 0.5g alcohol per litre blood.
Young or Professional Drivers - 0.15mg alcohol per litre of air or 0.3g per litre of blood.

There has been talk of zero tolerance which is still under discussion.

As you can see by the limits above, the levels are not high. Reaction to alcohol will differ from person to person and the percentage of alchol in wine for instance can differ, so not one can actually say whether the limit is reached with 1 glass, 2 or more.

If you are stopped by the police and asked to take a breath test it is advisable to take the test and not refuse. As you can imagine in Spain, like most other countries there are penalties for refusing. If the first test comes up positive, you can ask for another test to be take 10 minutes later and then request the results be confirmed by a blood test.

So what are the penalties?
The penalty you receive will depend how far over the limit you are. At present the fines range between 300.15 - 601.01euros, but there is ongoing discussion to increase this to 1.000euros plus. In addition, you could be looking at loss of your licence for 3 months to 4 years, community service or imprisonment.

Is that extra drink really worth the risk?

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