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In recent months, drink driving offences have been topical in the media. Unfortunately, most of the publicity has been negative, referring to the number of people who escape conviction as a result of technicalities. Recently, it came to light that incorrect statistics were published which said only 40% of offences were successfully convicted, however, the court service has come forward to correct this, and claiming 80% of offences were successfully convicted.

There are a number of complex steps simply in paperwork before the case even gets to court, many of which have been challenged and used as defences. The results of breathalyser and alcohol blood and urine tests must now be in both Irish and English and the summons must be one hundred percent accurate or the case will be struck out. The courts system needs to update their system to allow for accurate records of summons issued, and not served, or served and struck out to ensure that the statistics are accurate.

The reason such technicalities have been used is because the offence of drink driving has a severe penalty; an automatic 6 month disqualification and a €300 fine once convicted, plus on the spot penalties where you are pulled over. The fact the penalty is so severe and has no defence means the offence has been made more difficult to enforce and prosecute.  The court service have complained and called for an overhaul of the system, as there is little need for judges in the conviction of the offence as it stands and it was become too technical to be practical.


Type of Driver Blood Level Breath Level Urine Level Penalty
Any Type 50mg per 100mg 22mg per 100mg 67mg per 100mg Notice, on the spot €200 fine and 3 penalty points.
Learned or Novice 20mg per 100mg 9mg per 100mg 27mg per 100mg Notice, on the spot €200 fine and 3 month disqualification.
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