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New Zealand Drink Driving Laws

03 November, 2021

Each country has a corresponding set of laws and regulations to help them maintain peace and order. The laws vary according to the level of importance from country to country. In New Zealand, one of the topmost priorities is to maintain good road conduct at all times. Due to high road accidents, injuries, and deaths. New Zealand has established several measures to protect and ensure safety for everyone. One such measure is the Land Transport Act 1998, which sets out the drink driving laws.   

Under the Land Transport Act 1998, the driver’s age determines the amount of alcohol level allowed for driving a vehicle; and the corresponding penalties if one is found guilty in violation of the said drink driving laws. Police can use the following tests to check whether the driver has been drinking; passive breath test, breath screening test, evidential breath test, and evidential blood test. Breath tests can measure the alcohol content in a person’s body through a device that can detect the presence of alcohol in a person’s breath.    

Drink Driving Laws

The driver’s age determines the legal limits of alcohol. If the person is below twenty years old, the person is not allowed to drive regardless of the amount of alcohol taken. The driver committing this offense can get an on-the-spot infringement notice if the breath alcohol level is between 1 to 150 mg or up to 30 mg blood alcohol level. There is no criminal record for this; but if the breath alcohol level measures more than the said amount, the person can be prosecuted through court. If the breath alcohol concentration or BAC is 150-400 mg or blood level is 30-80 mg per 100 ml of blood, the person can be jailed for up to three months, fined up to $2,250, and automatically disqualified for driving. Drink driving laws impose heavier criminal charges if the BAC or blood level is more than the said amount.  

If you are twenty years old and above, you’ll also get an infringement notice if your BAC is between 250 mg to 400 mg or 50 to 80 mg per 100 ml of blood alcohol level, plus demerit points. However, drink driving laws will subject a person to prosecution in court if the BAC is found to be more than 400 mg or 80 mg blood alcohol level is subject to prosecution in court.  The penalty can range from up to three months imprisonment, a $4,500 fine, and at least six months disqualification for driving; repeating offense results in heavier criminal penalties.  

How to avoid penalties

There are several levels of penalties for different cases according to New Zealand’s drink driving laws. But to avoid all the legal trouble, know your limits, and always designate a non-drinking driver every time you go out.  If you are going out alone, do not drink at all or call for a taxi to be safe.  Alternatively, you can get your own BACtrack breathalyser to measure BAC yourself with police-grade accuracy.

 

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