DUI Laws Around the World

Alma L. Figueroa

Having a few drinks, then being stopped for DUI in the United States is a serious offense. DUI laws in countries all around the world vary, with some enforcing no-tolerance laws and others establishing different BAC baselines.

No tolerance countries do not allow any alcohol in the driver’s blood. If the driver does have alcohol in his system, he will be arrested for DUI. These countries include Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Brazil.

Canada gives its border patrol agents the right to deny a person entry into the country if he has been convicted of DUI. If the driver had a BAC higher than .08 percent, law enforcement authorities consider that level enough to convict for DUI.

Countries belonging to the European Union are very hard on their drunk drivers. Of these countries, Sweden views a BAC of .02 percent to be impaired. Most of the remaining countries have established a baseline of .05 percent.

Asian countries such as China punish drunk drivers with license suspension and jail time. In comparison to the U.S., China has set its legal limit of intoxication at .02 percent. In Central Asia, Turkmenistan has set its BAC at 0.033 percent while Mongolia has set its level at .02 percent. Kyrgyzstan has set a level of .05. In South Asia, the BAC levels range from banned up to.06 percent. BAC levels in Southeast Asian countries range from no limit to .08 percent.

If a driver with a DUI conviction less than 10 years old tries to enter Mexico, he will be refused entry. Even if the DUI took place and was prosecuted in another country, Mexico views foreign drinking, DUI and conviction as an indictable offense.

Canada’s laws on DUI are set province by province. In most provinces, the legal BAC limit is .05 percent. On Prince Edward Island drivers under 19 years of age with a BAC higher than.01 must pay a $500 fine. Quebec is more strict with new drivers. If they have a BAC higher than .00, their licenses are suspended immediately for 15 days. Upon conviction, their licenses are suspended for three months.

DUI laws in the European Union carry BAC levels ranging from zero up to.08 percent. Zero means below detectable limits. Finland routinely carries out breath testing even without a probable cause. Denmark fines its drunk drivers one month pay less tax. In Germany, drunk drivers working to get their licenses back must successfully undergo a medical psychological evaluation. Ireland imposes a two-year ban on driving along with a 1,500 Euro fine. Poland’s BAC level is .02 percent. Drunk drivers are banned from driving for six months up to three years, with a prison sentence of one month.

In the United Kingdom driving while intoxicated can land a driver behind bars for six months. He may have to pay a fine of 5,000 pounds. He will also be banned from driving for 12 months minimum. A DUI conviction remains on the driver’s record for 11 years. If a drunk driver causes a death while under the influence, he will be imprisoned for up to 14 years and receive a minimum two-year driving ban. He will also have to pass an extended driving test before regaining his driving privileges.

Drunk drivers in the United Kingdom can successfully argue against losing driving privileges for emergencies, The circumstances they can use include emergencies, the short distance they drove while under the influence and unknowingly drinking a laced drink, then driving.

Drivers from the United States who plan to travel to another country should educate themselves about DUI laws before they leave this country. Foreign judges will not go easy on a driver because he didn’t know the law.

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