Drunk driving law by country

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The laws of driving under the influence vary between countries. One difference is the acceptable limit of blood alcohol content before a person is charged with a crime.


Central Asia[edit]

East Asia[edit]

  • China: 0.02%. Over 0.02% but under 0.08%:  1000–2000 fine, 6 months licence suspension; Over 0.08%: up to 3 years imprisonment,[2] 5 years licence suspension. If the driver causes serious injuries or death, the license will be suspended for life.[3]
  • 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.[4]
  • Japan: BrAC 0.15 mg/L (equivalent to 0.03%). Additionally, regardless of alcohol readings, police may also determine the driver to be "driving drunk," which is punished more severely than exceeding the designated alcohol limits.[5]
  • Republic of Korea: 0.05% [6]
  • Taiwan: 0.05% (BrAC 0.15 mg/L). Over 0.05% but under 0.11%: TWD 15,000 to 90,000 fine, and license suspension for 1 year.[citation needed] 0.11% and above: license suspension for 1 year, and charge of offences against public safety with possible prison sentence up to 2 years as the maximum penalty. If the driver is convicted of causing accidents, the penalty shall be increased by half.[citation needed] If the driver causes serious injuries or death, the license will be suspended for life or even face the death penalty.

South Asia[edit]

  • Afghanistan: Zero[1]
  • India: 0.03%. This is according to section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988. On a first offence, the punishment is imprisonment of 6 months and/or fine of 2000 Indian Rupees (INR). If the second offence 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.
  • Nepal: 0%. Breathalyzer testing is regularly used in major cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Biratnagar and Highways. For more verification, driver will be taken to nearest hospitals for blood and urine test (if demanded by the driver). Licence will be seized instantly. Driver will get the licence back after attending anti-alcoholic classes run by Nepal Traffic Police and fine will be charged NRS 1000.[citation needed]
  • Pakistan: Falls under Drink and Drugs, S. No 14. No Set limit. 8 Penalty Points.[7]
  • Sri Lanka: 0.06%[citation needed] - 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[edit]

Western Asia[edit]

  • Turkey: 0.05%,[11] zero for commercial transport and public service drivers.
  • Armenia: 0.04%[12]
  • Azerbaijan: Zero[13]
  • Georgia: 0.02%[1]
  • Iran: Zero[1]
  • Israel: 24 mg per 100 ml of breath (penalties only apply above 26 mg per 100 ml of breath due to lawsuits about sensitivity of devices used). New drivers, drivers under 24 years of age and commercial drivers 5 mg per 100 ml of breath.[14]
  • Jordan: 0.05[1]- 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: Not available (alcohol is banned)
  • Lebanon: 0.02% (Often Unenforced)
  • Saudi Arabia: Not available (alcohol is banned)
  • United Arab Emirates: Zero[citation needed]


North America[edit]


  • Canada: 0.05-0.08%

The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 made it a per se offence to drive with a 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.[19]


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[edit]

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

Some states now have two statutory offenses.[21] The first is the traditional offense, variously called driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI),[22] operating under the influence (OUI), 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) by volume (mass of alcohol/volume of blood) 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. 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.[23] The differences between state penalties still varies. Wisconsin, for instance, is the only state that continues to treat first offense drunk driving arrests as forfeiture.[24]

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.) 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.[25]

The blood alcohol limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%.[26] Pilots of aircraft may not fly within eight hours of 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.[27]

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


  • Bahamas: 0.08%[1]
  • Cuba: Zero for young or inexperienced drivers and professional or commercial drivers, 0.05% for all other drivers[1]
  • Dominican Republic: 0.03%[1]
  • Jamaica: The law states that the legal alcohol limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 milliliters of breath or a blood alcohol level of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.[28]
  • Trinidad and Tobago: 35μg/100mL BrAC / 80 mg/ml BAC [29][30]

Central America[edit]

South America[edit]

  • Argentina: 0% for public transport and commercial vehicles, 0.02% for motorcycles, and 0.05% for all others [32]
  • Bolivia: 0.05% for professional drivers only[33]
  • Brazil: Any BAC up to 0.06% results in a fine and 12-month suspension of the driver's license. Anything above 0.06% is considered a criminal offense.[34][35]
  • Chile: From 15 March 2012: 0.03%-0.08% the driver is considered to be driving under the influence and carries a three-month suspension and a fine of US$82-US$410 (as of 19 March 2012); over 0.08% the driver is considered to be drunk and carries a prison term of 61 to 301 days, a fine of US$164-US$820 (as of 19 March 2012) and a two-year suspension for the first offense, a five-year suspension for a second offense, and a life suspension for a third offense.[36]
  • Colombia: Colombia is known to have the toughest penalties against those driving under the influence in all of Latin America and practice a zero tolerance policy on DUIs. If a driver is found to be driving between 20 and 39 milligrams of ethanol for every 100 milliliters of blood (equivalent to 0.02%-0.039% BAC), the driver is to have their license suspended for a year, pay a fine of US$914 (as of 22 December 2013), and serve 20 hours of community service. In the most extreme cases, if a driver is found to be driving with grade three alcohol (150 milligrams or more of ethanol), the driver is to have their licence confiscated for 10 years, pay a fine of US$7,314 (as of 22 December 2013), and serve 50 hours of community service. If the driver gets in an accident and causes injuries and or deaths, the driver is to face between 2.5 and 18 years of prison sentence.[37]
  • Ecuador: 0.01% for commercial or professional drivers, 0.03% for all other drivers[1]
  • Guyana: 0.08%[1]
  • Paraguay: Zero[citation needed]
  • Peru: 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 0.101%, 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.[citation needed]
  • Suriname: 0.05%[1]
  • Uruguay: 0.03% for amateur drivers (since March 2009) and all other drivers and zero for professional drivers.[1] The driver will have to pay a fine of US$464 (as of 29 April 2015) and will have their licence suspended. Depending on the concentration of alcohol in blood and the times the driver was found guilty the suspension goes from a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 2 years.[38] If the driver causes an accident involving death, he or she will be charged with negligent homicide and will face a minimum of 6 months in prison.
  • Venezuela: 0.08%[1]


Map of Europe showing countries' blood alcohol limits as defined in g/dl for the general population

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

  • Albania: 0.01%[11]
  • Austria: 0.05%.[1] 0.01% for drivers who have held a licence for less than 2 years and drivers of vehicles over 7.5 tonnes[citation needed]
  • Belarus: 0.03%
  • Belgium: 0.05%.[11] Fines and driving bans increase as the alcohol concentration in the blood increases.[39]
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: 0.031% [40]
  • Bulgaria: 0.05%[1]
  • Czech Republic: Zero[11]
  • Croatia: 0.05%[41]
  • Cyprus: 0.05%[1]
  • Denmark: 0.05%, imprisonment if over 0.20%, zero if not driving safely. Fine: one months pay after taxes * (BAC*10).[42]
  • Estonia: 0.019%[43]
  • Finland: 0.05%,[11] 0.12% (aggravated). 0.00% for new drivers. The penalty is a fine or jail up to 6 months plus license suspension from 1 month to 5 years. For aggravated, also a prison sentence (60 days to 2 years) is possible,[44] usually as a suspended sentence. Routine breath testing without a probable cause is permitted and often practiced. Penalties vary by level of intoxication.
  • France: 0.05% or 0.02% for new drivers (under 3 years of driving license) and bus drivers (€135 fine and 6 demerit points on the driver's license, which can be suspended for 3 years maximum),[11] 0.08% (aggravated, criminal offense, license suspension for 3 years, €4500 fine, and up to 2 years imprisonment)
  • Germany: Zero for beginners (less than 2 years' experience and drivers under the age of 21) as well as for professional drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers and drivers making commercial transportation of passengers; 0.03% in conjunction with any other traffic offense or accident; 0.05% without evidence of alcoholic impact (€500 fine and 1 month license suspension); penalty for 0.11% is a €500 fine and the drivers licence is withdrawn for at least six months, but usually about one year (penalty is set by the Court)); for 0.16% or higher regranting of the licence requires a successful Medical Psychological Assessment(MPU).[45] If someone is caught with more than 0.11% or higher within 10 Years of the last DUI incident with more than 0.05% and he´s found guilty of DUI, it carries a minimum €1.000 fine and a license suspension of at least one year, he has to take and successfully pass an MPU and is required to prove to the Court that he has been sober for the last 12 months, before he can get his license back. Note that the fine is doubled for second offenders and so on, regardless of how much the driver was over the limit. Also, usually German Courts will hand out an extra fine to drivers for DUI offences, regardless of the already set penalty. If over 0.11%, the German Courts usually also require the DUI offender to do unpaid community service. Riding a bicycle in Germany, the limit is set to 0.16%, as long as the rider is not involved in an accident. If a cyclist is caught with more than 0.16%, he´s facing the same penalties as if he would have been driving a car with more than 0.16% of alcohol.[46]
  • Gibraltar: 0.05% [47]
  • Greece: 0.05% (BrAC 0.25 mg/L),[11] reduced to 0.02% (BrAC 0.10 mg/L) for unlicensed or new drivers who have held a license for less than 2 years, motor cycle and professional drivers. Above 0.11% (BrAC 0.60 mg/L) it's considered a flagrant misdemeanor punishable with up to 2 years of imprisonment and a hefty fine in the court plus the revoking of the drivers licence for 6 months. Routine breath testing without a probable cause is permitted and practiced by the traffic police, especially on weekends and major holidays.
  • Hungary: Zero[1]
  • Iceland: 0.05%[11]
  • 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).[48] 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.[49]
  • Italy: From 0.05% to 0.08% (€500-2000 fine, 3–6 months license suspension), from 0.08% to 0.15% (aggravated, €800-3200 fine, 6–12 months license suspension, up to 6 months imprisonment), over 0.15% (aggravated, €1500-6000 fine, 1–2 years license suspension, 6 to 12 months imprisonment, vehicle seizure and confiscation), zero for drivers with less than 3 years experience and professional drivers (bus, trucks etc...). License is always revoked in case of: professional drivers, second offence committed within two years or in case of an accident. If the driver refuses examination he is considered to have been under influence by default applying the over 0.15% rules.[50] Limit is zero for newly qualified drivers (those who have their license for less than three years). Routine breath testing without a probable cause is permitted and practiced by various law enforcement agencies.
  • Latvia: 0.02% for drivers with less than 2 years of experience and 0.05% for those with more than 2 years of experience
  • Liechtenstein: 0.08%[citation needed]
  • Lithuania: 0.02% for drivers with less than 2 years of experience and 0.04% for those with more than 2 years of experience[11]
  • Luxembourg: 0.02% for professional drivers and drivers with less than 2 years of experience and 0.05% for the rest (EUR 145 fine and 2 demerit points on the driving licence if caught). 0.08% earns you a citation, 0.12% means loss of license (since October 1, 2007) [51]
  • Macedonia: Zero for professional drivers, public service drivers, commercial transport and beginner drivers, 0.05% for all others [52]
  • Moldova: 0.03%[11]
  • Malta: 0.08%[11]
  • Netherlands: 0.05%,[11] 0.02% for drivers with less than 5 years' experience (or less than 7 years' experience when the driver got his license before reaching the age of 18)
  • Norway: 0.02%.[11] Punishment depends on the alcohol level. 0.02% (fine, but one may also risk a suspended licence if any aggravated circumstances are present.), 0.05% (fine, suspended sentence and suspended license), 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 forever, when license is suspended forever, one may apply to get it back after 5 years.[53]
  • Poland: 0.02% (driving license banned from six months up to three years, jail up to one month), 0.05% (driving license banned from minimum 3 years, prison up to three years).[11] Limits and penalties for riding the bicycles were same as for motorized vehicles to December 2013. Almost half of people imprisoned for drunk driving were riding bicycles.[54]
  • Portugal: 0.05%[11]
  • Romania: 0.0%. Above 0.8 g/L imprisonment of 1 to 5 years. Under 0.8 g/L civil fine with possible suspended licence.[citation needed]
  • Russian Federation: 0.0356% since 1 September 2013,[55][56] previously zero since 2010[57][58]
  • Serbia: 0.03% for all, zero for motorcycle drivers, professional drivers, public service drivers, commercial transport and beginning drivers.[59] The official government plan is to make it zero for everyone in 2015.
  • Slovakia: Zero[11]
  • Slovenia: Zero for drivers with 3 years or less experience and professional drivers, 0.24 mg/l (0.05%) for all others.[citation needed]
  • Spain: 0.05% (0.25 mg/l) [60] and 0.03% (0.15 mg/l) 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. Surpassing the limit is a serious offence, fined with €500.[61] Driving with an alcohol rate over 0.12% is a crime (up to 6 months imprisonment and license suspension up to 4 years).[62]
  • Sweden: 0.02% (up to 6 months imprisonment), 0.10% (imprisonment, maximum 2 years).[63] Annually about 2.5 million random tests are performed for alcohol and about 12 thousand tests on suspicion of drugs.[64]
  • Switzerland: 0.05%[11]
  • United Kingdom
    • England and Wales: 80 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, 35 μg per 100ml of breath or 107 mg per 100ml of urine.[65]
    • Scotland: 50 mg alcohol/100ml blood or 22mcg alcohol/100ml breath (legislation became effective from 5 December 2014)[66]
    • Northern Ireland: 80 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. As of November 2014 results of a public consultation regarding reduction of this limit were being considered,[67] with a reduction to 50 being thought likely[68]
  • Ukraine: 0.02%[69]

Further rules in the United Kingdom (UK)[edit]

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' disqualification. For a second offence committed within ten years of conviction, the minimum ban is three 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. Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol or other 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.

It is an offence to refuse to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis. The penalties for refusing are the same as those for actual drunk driving.

The offence of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol is one to which there is no defence, as such (although defences such as duress or automatism, which are not specific to the offence of driving with excess alcohol, may apply in certain rare circumstances). 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 offence. Special reasons are notoriously difficult to establish and the burden of proof is always upon the accused to establish them. Such reasons may include:

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

Magistrates' sentencing guidelines[edit]

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[70] 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 £5000 fine and/or a six-month prison sentence.

As with England and Wales, road traffic law in Scotland is in the main framed within the Road Traffic Act 1988 as amended. Prosecution and disposal of drink-drive offences is broadly similar to England and Wales with less serious cases prosecuted on complaint through the sheriff summary courts. Cases involving aggravations, life-changing or fatal injuries are prosecuted on indictment via the sheriff solemn or high court. As with most UK-wide legislation, the penalties and sentencing guidelines for drunk driving in Scotland mirror those in effect in England and Wales.



A roadside warning in Victoria, Australia

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

Australian law 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, and after football matches or other major 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. It is an offence to refuse to provide a sample of breath when requested, with severe penalties including prison.[71]

Australian Capital Territory[edit]

Drink driving laws in the ACT are similar to those of other States, but there are differences. These differences lie in the length of suspension, being able to apply for a restrictive licence, and the course required to be completed to regain your licence.[72]

  • Zero for drivers or riders holding a learner, provisional, restricted or probationary license and for drivers operating heavy vehicles over 15t GVM or driving a public vehicle for hire or reward (for example taxi and bus drivers).[73]
  • 0.05% for all other drivers.

New South Wales[edit]

  • Unlike other States, there are no work licences, or restricted licences in NSW for DUI offences [74]
  • Zero for Learner and Provisional licences.[6]
  • 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[edit]

  • In most cases drink driving in the Northern Territory will result in a loss of licence. There is no special work licence available if you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol.[75]
  • Zero for provisional (probationary) licence holders and all motorcyclists.
  • 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 and RE class licensed motorcyclists in their first 12 months.[76]
  • 0.05% for other drivers.[77]
  • Zero limit for methamphetamine, Cannabis and MDMA.[77]

South Australia[edit]

  • There are three different types of drink driving offences in South Australia: exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA), driving under the influence (DUI), and refusing to provide a breath/blood sample.[78]
  • 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.
  • If you commit a drink driving offence in Tasmania and hold a learners licence, or have held a provisional licence for a continuous period of less than 12 months, you will be required to undertake a drink driving course prior to being able to apply for your licence after the disqualification period ends. The course is designed to assist young people in making better decisions when driving by promoting an understanding of the risks involved.[79]


  • Zero limit applies for unlicensed drivers, holders of learner permits and probationary licences, "professional" drivers, and certain relicensed drunk-drivers.
  • 0.05% for all 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[edit]

  • Zero for learner and probationary licence holders and persons convicted of driving under the influence and/or 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.

From October 2016, driver’s who commit serious or frequent drink driving offences will be ordered by the courts to participate in the interlock program in WA. This program requires that the driver install a breath testing device to their vehicle. A breath sample which indicates a BAC in excess of the prescribed level will mean the vehicle cannot be started. Being ordered onto the program will incur significant costs to the driver.[79]

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand operates a program called Compulsory Breath Testing, which allows police to stop motorists at any time. CBT is usually carried out at roadside checkpoints but mobile patrol cars can also randomly stop motorists to administer a test. The police also carry out roadside drug tests upon motorists they suspect have used drugs.[80]

The system in New Zealand is age-based.[81] Since midnight on 1 December 2014, the limits are:

  • Zero limit for persons under 20 years.
  • 0.05% BAC or 250μg/L breath for persons 20 years and over.

The penalties for exceeding the limits are:

  • Persons under 20 years, up to 0.03% BAC / 150μg/L breath - instant NZ$200 fine and 50 demerit points.
  • Persons under 20 years, 0.03% to 0.08% BAC / 150μg/L to 400μg/L breath - up to 3 months imprisonment and/or up to NZ$2250 fine; loss of licence for three months or more.
  • Persons 20 years and over, 0.05% to 0.08% BAC / 250μg/L to 400μg/L breath - instant NZ$200 fine and 50 demerit points. 12 hour prohibition from driving immediately after[82]
  • All persons over 0.08% BAC / 400μg/L breath (first and second offenses) - up to 3 months imprisonment and/or up to NZ$4500 fine; loss of licence for six months or more.
  • All persons over 0.08% BAC / 400μg/L breath (third and subsequent offenses) - 2 years imprisonment; NZ$6000 fine; loss of licence for one year or more.

On 4 November 2013, the government announced that the limit would be reduced to 0.05% BAC with instant fines and demerit points being imposed on those between 0.05 and 0.08%. Legislation was passed in New Zealand's Parliament in August 2014 with a date where the new limits take effect announced on December 1, 2014.[83]

Note that penalties apply to the lowest reading taken across both breath and blood tests. For example, if a driver 20 years or over has a breath test result of 426μg/L but a subsequent blood test returns 0.077% BAC, then the driver is not charged with any drink driving offence despite the breath reading being over the breath alcohol limit. 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 licence for one year or more).

Other countries in Oceania[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba "Legal BAC limits by country". World Health Organization. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  2. ^ 中华人民共和国刑法 (2011年)(in Chinese). Wikisource Chinese. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  3. ^ 中华人民共和国道路交通安全法(in Chinese). Wikisource Chinese. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Road Traffic Ordinance Cap. 374" (PDF). 
  5. ^ 飲酒運転の罰則等 (in Japanese). Metropolitan Police Department. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "The SOFA and You". USFK. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  7. ^ [1] Archived July 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ In April 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 80 mg.
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