When drink-driving can result in a jail sentence in Spain

When drink-driving can result in a jail sentence in Spain

Anyone found guilty of driving under the effects of alcohol and drugs could be sent to prison for anything between three months and ten years, depending on the severity of their offence

Raquel Merino


Tuesday, 11 October 2022, 10:28

During Spain's recent campaign to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, eight out of ten positive cases were detected at Guardia Civil road checkpoints. The rest were drivers who had been stopped for driving offences, had been involved in accidents or showed signs of having consumed these substances.

As a result of the campaign, carried out in August by the DGT (Directorate-General for Traffic), 274 drivers have appeared in court, either because they blew more than 0.60mg/l of alcohol when breathalysed, had consumed a narcotic substance or refused to be tested. The officers also identified 4,750 drivers who had consumed alcohol but were not over the limit.

The consequences of having consumed alcohol or drugs before driving depends on the circumstances. A driver whose breathalyser result is more than 0.60 mg/l or who has a blood alcohol level higher than 1.2 grammes per litre, and those who test positive for drugs or psychotropic substances can face between three and six months in jail.

Fines or community service

As with speeding offences, the judge has the right to issue a fine to be paid over a six to 12-month period instead of imposing a prison term, or order the driver to do community service for 31 to 90 days. In any case, they can be banned for driving for between one and four years.

If someone is also found guilty of reckless driving, the prison term can be increased to two years and the ban on driving from one to six years. If they showed a “manifest disregard for the lives of others”, they can be jailed for between two and five years, although this can be reduced to one or two years if they did not endanger the life of another person.

If a driver refuses to take a test for alcohol, drugs, narcotics and psychotropic substances, they can be jailed for between six and 12 months and banned from driving for one to four years.



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