Drinking and driving

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Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substances

Driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substances is an offence and punishable by law. Traffic offences are those that can cause accidents with very serious consequences, both for the vehicle and for the physical integrity or even the life of the persons involved.

Impairment of intellectual capacity following the consumption of alcohol or substances is defined as the functional inability of the person to react, alcohol consumption being the one that slows down the functionality of the central nervous system. It is alcohol that blocks a large part of the messages that need to reach the brain and thus alters the person’s perceptions, emotions and movement, hearing or vision.

By setting a minimum range above which alcohol consumption becomes criminal, the laws take into account all these organic aspects that can occur as a result of alcohol consumption independently of health, age and food consumption.

Driving a car within the range where alcohol produces behavioural changes will be sanctioned by a ticket when the alcoholic intoxication is 0.8 g/l pure blood alcohol or by a criminal offence when the alcoholic intoxication is higher.

When the alcohol level recorded on the breathalyzer is 0.4 mg/l or higher, the competent authorities must take biological samples to determine the alcohol level and the driver will be taken to a health facility. He will also have a criminal investigation file pending receipt of the evidence.

As far as the consumption of substances is concerned, it is important to mention that there is no limit for determining the offence or misdemeanour and therefore, the ingestion of these substances is in any case an offence.

Driving on public roads of a vehicle for which the law requires a license, under the influence of alcoholic beverages, with an alcoholic intoxication of more than 0.8 g/l pure alcohol in blood can be punished with imprisonment between 1 and 5 years or a fine. The same penalty will also be imposed on a person who is under the influence of psychoactive substances and who drives a car for which the law requires a driving licence.

If the person in the above-mentioned situations drives means of public transport of persons, dangerous products or substances of a special nature, or is undergoing practical training to obtain a driver’s licence or when taking the driving test, the penalty is imprisonment for a period of between 2 and 7 years.

The offence of driving a car under the influence of alcohol or other substances is regulated in simple variants – an assimilated variant and an aggravated variant. The object is in fact the social relations concerning the safety of traffic on public roads, which implies the prohibition to drive a car over the legally prescribed alcohol limit.

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