Can you go to jail for drink driving in Ireland?




IF THIS IS YOUR first offence, then it’s extremely unlikely.


While a prison sentence is a possibility, this is only really reserved for people who are being prosecuted for drink driving a second, third or fourth time.

For those people jail is a real possibility.

So, if this is your first time in court for drink driving, you'll almost certainly not be receiving a jail sentence.

So, if this is your first time in court for drink driving, you’ll almost certainly not be receiving a jail sentence.

I DID KNOW A JUDGE ONCE (happily retired many years) who jailed everyone who was convicted of drink driving before him.

It didn’t matter if this was your first ever offence, or had never been in trouble with the law before. If you pleaded guilty, or were found guilty by him of drink driving, you were automatically sent to prison.


It was sheer lunacy, but thankfully very rare.

The unintended consequences of his behaviour was that everyone who appeared before him charged with drink driving pleaded not guilty.

Even people who had hopeless cases.

They did this because they knew that if they pleaded guilty, they would be sent to prison.

Pure and simple.

They had no choice.


This caused a mammoth growth in needless trials and a backlog of court lists.

Even people with no objective hope of winning their cases, were herded down the narrow road of pleading not guilty because of one judge.

Because if you pleaded guilty you were going to jail.

Under this judge appeals rocketed by 900%.

I was told this by the district court clerk assigned to this judge.


Under this judge appeals rocketed by 900%.

Scores of people were appealing sentences of imprisonment for first-time offences of drink driving.

Thankfully the appeal court Judges in the Circuit Court were more pragmatic and sensible. Almost without exception they quashed every single term of imprisonment imposed by this District Court Judge.


SO, WHILE JAIL IS A POSSIBILITY it almost never happens when a person is prosecuted for drink driving for the first time.

If it does you can apply to have appeal terms (bail) fixed that day.

You can then take up bail that same day and go home while you wait for your appeal to come up.



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