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Can Drink Driving Charges be Dropped?

Updated: Jul 18, 2023






THE POLICE NEVER, ever, drop drink driving charges.

Never.


I’m not trying to be rude but you'd be surprised at how often I've heard people ask this and besides, people need to know right away.

Certainty is important.


The police will not forget you.

You might think that that seems obvious. I mean, after all, why should they?


If you’ve been arrested for drink driving there’s a good chance you may have thought it too.

Often this question is accompanied by a sort of rationalisation. It usually goes something like this: “they’ll (the police) know I’ve never been in trouble before so they might leave me off”, or

“They know I need my car for work, so…”, or

“I’m a single parent, so they might give me a break”.


They estimate that alcohol is involved in
32% of all road fatalities in France, 29% in Spain,
13% in the UK, 6% in Belgium and 5.7% in Germany.
The figure for Ireland is 38%.



These are precious, but sadly delusional.


Why are the State so insistent on prosecuting people, many of whom have never been in trouble before?

It’s a public policy reason: it makes complete sense to prioritise road safety in general and the threat posed to other road users by intoxicated drivers in particular.


This is not controversial: even people arrested for drink driving agree with this.


Road deaths are public knowledge and statistics about road fatalities across Europe are collected and compared between member states.



ACCORDING TO THE European Transport Safety Council, a Brussels-based non-profit organisation, alcohol is involved in 25% of all road deaths across the EU.

They estimate that alcohol is involved in 32% of all road fatalities in France, 29% in Spain, 13% in the UK, 6% in Belgium and 5.7% in Germany.

The figure for Ireland is 38%.


Clearly, we have some progress to make here and the Irish government is committed to bridging this gap and lowering road deaths.


Drink driving detections are carefully monitored and tracked.


Whenever someone is arrested and provides a blood or urine specimen, that specimen is placed into a cardboard box and posted (or delivered by hand) to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS).


The MBRS are the body tasked with analysing blood and urine specimens for alcohol and drugs. This is their primary function.

But they also do other important work.







They prepare reports, annual reports. These reports set out how many people were arrested for drink driving in the previous year, where (county) they were arrested, what their age was, what time they were arrested at, whether they gave a blood or urine specimen etc.

This information is then presented at the end of the year in a published report and shared with the European Transport Safety Council.


If a Garda station cannot account for why
John Smith wasn’t prosecuted for drink driving,
internal problems occur.
Big problems.



THE MBRS ARE VERY PARTICULAR about getting all of the details of every motorist arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving.

As I said, they track the development of each individual case.


So, if John Smith is arrested for drink driving and the MBRS determine that Smith’s blood specimen was over the legal limit, they expect a court prosecution to take place.


In fact, they write to each Garda station seeking full details on each case. If a Garda station cannot account for why John Smith wasn’t prosecuted for drink driving, internal problems occur.

Big problems.


So, each person arrested, who has been found to be over limit, had better be prosecuted in court, otherwise the MBRS will demand answers from the Garda station involved.


That is why the police never forget, why they never fail to issue that summons for drink driving.


If you’re over the limit you will definitely -100%- be served with a summons to appear in court.


This may take a number of months, maybe even a year after you’ve been arrested, but it will happen.

That drink driving charge is absolutely certain, and it is never dropped.


Ever.

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