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Drink Driving Charges in New Zealand

03 November, 2021

Most road accidents all over the world can be directly linked to drink driving causes. Drink driving is when a person under the influence of alcohol is operating a motor vehicle to the extent that one’s physical and mental faculties are impaired.  Having alcohol in your blood can slow down your reaction time and affect your senses, deeming you unsafe on the road. In New Zealand especially, drink driving is not only considered irresponsible but a serious criminal offense.  According to the Ministry of Transport, the top causes of road accidents in New Zealand annually are drink driving alongside speeding and distracted driving or inattention. New Zealand implements strict laws and imposes serious drink driving charges when caught or suspected of being drunk while driving.  

Drink driving charges for under twenty years old

There are different penalties when one is involved in a drink driving case. Police will test you if you have been drinking alcohol through a breath alcohol test.  Drink driving charges vary depending on the driver’s age and the alcohol level in the body. The legal limit for a person under twenty years old is zero. This means that in no other circumstance, that person can drive if they have drunk alcohol. If an under-twenty person is caught driving with an alcohol level of less than 150 mg per litre of breath, or less than 30 mg per 100 ml of blood; the person can be fined and given fifty demerit points. If it is more than that, the person can be disqualified from driving, given 50 demerit points, and can be fined or imprisoned.    

For twenty years old and above

Meanwhile, the legal limits for people twenty years old and above allow up to 250 mg of alcohol per litre of breath only. More than 250 mg to 400 mg per litre of breath, or 51 mg to 80 mg per 100 ml of blood, penalizes the driver with a fine and 50 demerit points. Anything more than that, the driver faces disqualification from driving and can be fined or imprisoned. In extreme cases such as when an injury or death happened; the drink driving charges can range up to ten years in prison, up to $20,000 fine; and suspension of driving license for one year or more for the first and second offence; and more than one year suspension for third and subsequent offence. The police can also confiscate your vehicle if need be.   

What are your options when you are faced with drink driving charges? First, you can avail the services of a lawyer or legal advice. They can help you be aware of your options and help you minimize and reduce your penalties.  Second, you can also complete your imposed fines and penalties; then, you can apply for removal of an indefinite disqualification if you receive a satisfactory assessment from the Ministry of Health. 

BACtrack offers high-quality breathalyzers available at our products page here.

 

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