October 23, 2014
Whether it is a holiday season, a weekend or somebody´s party, it is important to keep in mind that certain rules exist when it comes to road safety, which each and every one of us must comply with.
Even though the Spanish Criminal Code has six articles highlighting this matter, the majority of drivers aren´t familiar with them and thus are subject to commit a crime against the safety on the road, without even knowing that they are breaking the law.
It is important to note that driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime that does not need the consequence of a result. That is, the criminal offence is considered to be committed even in the situation where you do not necessarily cause an accident due to the protected legal interest of abstract traffic safety. This does not depend on whether somebody´s life was put in danger or whether the accident was a result of the person´s inappropriate behavior.
Should the police suspect that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they will stop you and ask you to take breathalyzer test. Refusal to carry it out may result in you incurring a penalty of imprisonment of between six and twelve months and a suspension from driving of motor vehicles and motorcycles between one and four years.
Similarly, it is essential to be aware of the limits of alcohol that you can consume and still be allowed to drive. The Penal Code states that the limit of alcohol in expired air is 0.60 mg per liter or 1.2 g per liter of blood. If it has been detected that you have alcohol in your system but the level is less than 0.60g /1.2g you could get away with it or in the worst case scenario – be administratively sanctioned, i.e. a monetary fine addition to the withdrawal of up to six points from your driving license.
In the event where the test result comes back positive and exceeds the permitted limits, you will be asked to take the test again ten minutes later. If, however, in ten minutes it still exceeds the limits, this will result in you going to the police station and your vehicle being towed away. Afterwards you will be required to submit some paperwork before proceeding to a quick trial. During the trial it is compulsory that you are assisted by a Lawyer. You will have the option of reaching an agreement and taking the blame, thereby obtaining a conviction with a reduction in the standard penalty for this crime. If this were the case, the judge will issue a consent judgment which shall entail a prohibition from driving vehicles as per the agreement reached with the prosecution.
Should you not reach an agreement with the prosecution, an order of summary proceedings shall be issued, with the obligation of submitting a defence statement before the Court of Instruction prior to having the Criminal Court appoint a date for the trial session to take place.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, please contact us and our experts will advise you on how to proceed.