About driving drunk in Spain

Breath testing is carried out frequently all over Spain. Traffic police may require any driver to take a breathalyzer test to analyse the amount of alcohol in his blood. There are two methods for penalizing drivers who drive a motor vehicle in Spain under the influence of alcohol: through administrative or criminal proceedings, depending on how serious is the infringement.

In the first case, the legal blood alcohol limit is in general 0.25 mg/l (or 0.15 mg/l if you are a learner driver, i.e. within the first 12 months of obtaining the driving license). If the amount of alcohol exceeds this limit, the driver can be heavily fined.

In the event such amount of blood exceeds 0.60 mg/l, the driver becomes subject to a criminal proceeding and may even be arrested.

Refusal to co-operate is also considered a criminal offence. Pedestrians may also be required to take a breathalyzer test if they are involved in a car accident.

If the results of the first breathalyzer test taken show that the amount of alcohol is over the limit established by the Spanish law, a second test must be taken. There must be 10 minutes difference between the first and the second test. If this is your case, be aware that you have the following rights:

  • You may ask another person to check that there is 10 minutes difference between the first test and the second one.
  • You may compare the results of the breathalyzer test with a blood test. If such blood test shows the same result, you should pay for the blood test expenses; otherwise the Spanish Administration is to cover such costs.

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