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What are the Penalties for Drunk Driving in NZ?

18 January, 2022

Alcohol consumption during social activities is typical in New Zealand and worldwide. At moderate levels, alcohol can make a person feel relaxed or stimulated. Unfortunately, excessive consumption can have detrimental effects on your health and safety. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to severe impairments in your senses and perception, which could then affect your driving ability. If you drive with a high blood alcohol content (BAC), there is a high possibility of getting arrested for drunk driving in NZ. Drink driving is a criminal offence in New Zealand with heavy penalties. Depending on your alcohol level and intoxication degree, you can face hefty fines and even possible jail time. Devices like BACtrack personal breathalysers can help with BAC monitoring. BACtrack breathalysers measure your BAC through breath sampling. It can help you control your consumption and avoid getting into legal trouble.

What are the penalties for drunk driving in NZ? Drink driving in NZ, and its penalties can be classified based on your age. The age limits include being 20 years old or older and under 20 years old. If you are at least 20 years old, your legal alcohol limit is 0.05% BAC. The BAC is the amount of alcohol present in your system. A 0.05% BAC equals 0.05g of alcohol per 100ml of blood or 210 litres of breath. There are varying penalties for drink driving violations based on your level of impairment and BAC level. At 0.051-0.08% BAC, you could be fined and given demerit points. At 0.081-0.15% BAC, you can face up to 3 months in jail, a $4,500 fine, and at least six months to one year or more license suspension.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in NZ: Minors

Drivers under 20 years old have a zero alcohol limit. Any alcohol amount in their system would prohibit them from driving. Those under the alcohol interlock program must also not have any alcohol before driving. The penalties for drunk driving in NZ for drivers under 20 years old can range from infringement notices to driving disqualification. A 0.03% BAC or below is subject to an on-the-spot infringement notice ($200) and 50 demerit points. You do not get a police record for this. However, at 0.031% BAC or higher, you can face up to 3 months in jail, $2,250 fines, and up to three months license suspension. Make sure to check with a BACtrack personal breathalyser before driving. Breath tests can help you know when it’s safe for you to drive.

You should also know that refusing police requested breath tests can also have severe penalties. These penalties can be as harsh as those you get when drunk driving in NZ. You can get a $4,500 fine and a driving disqualification of six months or more when refusing a breath test. Use BACtrack personal breathalysers to help you avoid potentially hefty fines and possible criminal charges. Without a doubt, it’s a device worth investing in.

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