Driving under the influence of alcohol – or drugs and other toxic substances- has administrative consequences, and it could also constitute a criminal offence in certain cases.
Alcohol Limit Spain: breathalyzer test
If the results obtained from the breathalyzer test exceed 0.25 milligrams per litre (0.15 for professional drivers and drivers with less than two year experience), the driver would receive a 500 euros fine. In those cases when the rate is higher than 0.5 milligrams (0.3 for professionals and inexperienced drivers), and also when the driver has been fined for the same reason in the previous 12 months, the fine would be double that amount (1,000 euros). You may also read about the breathalyzer results accuracy.
The previously mentioned fines are to be imposed, initially, under administrative proceedings by the traffic authorities, and they do not imply any Court proceedings or criminal records for the driver.
But driving under the influence of alcohol would constitute a criminal offence in two specific cases, according to section 379.2 of the Spanish Criminal Code:
- In every case, when the test rate exceeds 0.60 milligrams per litre; and
- Even if obtaining a rate below that limit (or in those cases when no test is made), the driver’s faculties are clearly affected by the ingestion of alcohol or drugs and it affects their ability to drive.
In the second case, it is essential that the officers making the test are able to prove those circumstances before the Court – it should be mentioned that the Courts, instead of traffic authorities, would deal with these criminal cases.
Criminal proceedings would carry (where the driver is found guilty by the Court subsequent to the legal proceedings) in every case the deprivation of the right to drive vehicles for a period of between one and four years; and besides that the driver would receive one of the following three punishments: a prison sentence (for the most serious cases; between three and six months); a community services order (between 31 and 90 days); or a fine (normally between 1,000 and 3,000 euros, but this amount could vary depending on the financial situation of the driver).
Alcohol Limit Spain: refusing breathalyzer test
Besides that, it is important to take into account that, according to article 383 of the Criminal Code, if the driver refuses to complete the breathalyzer test it would constitute an independent criminal offence (in addition to the previous one), carrying a prison sentence (of six to twelve months) and deprivation of the right to drive (for one to four years).