Drunk Driving

Learn about drunk driving and the real law behind it, including knowing your alcohol limits, your rights in the case of a breathalyser or blood test and more.

General

No one may drive while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs with a narcotic effect. 

Note: Drunk driving not only refers to driving a car but also being seated in the driver's seat of a stationary vehicle while the engine of that vehicle is on.

Breathalyser Test

The police may detain or arrest a member of the public if they fail a breathalyser test. 

A member of the public will fail the breathalyser test if their breath is an alcohol level of 0.24 mg per 1000 ml or greater. This is roughly the equivalent of someone drinking 1 shot of spirits, ¾ of a 330ml beer/cider or 75ml of wine. As a rule of thumb, members of the public should consume no more than one of the above-mentioned quantities per hour. 

Note: If a person weighs less than 68 kilograms, consumption of one of the above units may result in them failing the breathalyser test.

Blood Test

The police may detain or arrest a member of the public if they fail a blood test. 

If the following procedures are not met, the blood test is legally invalid:

  • Blood must be drawn within 2 hours of a member of the public being stopped by the police; and
  • Blood must be drawn at a mobile unit, clinic or hospital by a duly qualified practitioner.

Members of the public have the right to refuse a blood test if they suspect the equipment is not sterile and clean. They are entitled to insist that all equipment used to draw their blood must be opened in front of them and to see the expiry date. Members of the public are entitled to refuse that expired equipment be used to draw their blood.

Filming The Police

  • Members of the public are allowed to film or photograph the police, as long as they do not disturb evidence or the exercise of the police’s powers and duties. The police are not allowed to seize or damage recording devices or force any member of the public to delete any footage or photograph. However, the police may request members of the public to move out of a cordoned off crime scene if such persons are intruding on the duties or functions of the police. Members of the public ought to respect the police and their wishes, including while photographing or filming them. 

    Note: Evidence of inappropriate attempts to engage into arguments with a police officer can be used to incriminate the member of the public.