EDITION: December-March '05


Jaime Roig - Abogados
On October 1st 2004, the new wording of article 379 of Criminal Code took effect. Its contents is the following: “Driving a motor vehicle or a moped under the influence of toxic drogues, narcotics, psychotropic, substances or alcoholic drinks shall be punished with a sentence of imprisonment for three to six months or with a fine for six to twelve months, ant where appropiate, with cçworks in the benefit of the community for 31 to 90 days, and, in any case, with disqualification to drive motor vehicles and mopeds for more than one year up to four years”.
It is abvious that we are in front of a regulation that intends to confront the real social drama represented by the high number of road accidents where unfortunately alcohol is present is most occasions. Raising drivers’ awareness and dissuading them, that if they drink, they do not have to drive, is an obligation and a task of all of us. The protected juridical good is, with no doubt, traffic safety, achieving thus at a time protection of life and persons integrity as the most relevant goods which are endagnered when unduly driving. But in order to be a criminal offence drunk driving has to be carried outexceeding a certain alcohol limit and there must be singns that alcohol influenes on driving. The limit from which driving in punishable is 0,5gr in a litre of blood and even less for certain drivers, and if you drive exceeding 1.4gr, you have a high risk to end up in jail. There is no fixed or reliable rule to determine how many beers, glasses of wine or of cognac can be taken not to exceed the limit, because this depends on many circunstances and factors of the particular person: weight, age, whether the person is a male or a female, whether the person has eaten a lot or only a little before taking alcohol, whether the person takes medicines, etc, etc, but for mere guidance and with no conclusive value, it could be said thant, generally, a male weighting 70 kilos would have 0,3gr in his blood with a beer, while a female would have a higher rate. A glass of wine 0,2 and 0,3 and a cognac 0,3 and 0,4. Knowing your personal rate of effect is very important since the opposite can entail unexpected and serious consequences if you are given a breath test. You cannot refuse taking the test; otherwise you cound be charged for a serious disobedience criminal offence. The test in fact are two tests carried out with a minimum interval of 10 minutes, with the right to check ist results with a blood clinical analysis as well as to get evidence that the alcohol breath test device has passed controls ruled by law and indicating the margin of error. Anyway, if toy are involved in any of these situations, is is advisable that you see your Lawyer.