FIRST OFF, PAY attention to this.
If you exceed the legal limit and are convicted in court, the length of any disqualification is based solely on the level of alcohol in the blood, urine or breath specimen you gave.
These cases are very technical.
The fact that you exceeded the
legal limit is only one part.
Is it important?
Of course it is, but so are other essential
legal proofs, and if they are not proven
the case against you may be fatally wounded.
Just because you exceeded the legal limit does not mean you will definitely be disqualified. There are many component steps that have to be proven in court before a conviction is recorded.
The fact that you exceeded the legal limit is only one part of that. Is it important? Of course it is, but so are other essential legal proofs, and if they are not proven the case against you may be fatally wounded.
Back to the drink driving limits.
HAS ANYTHING CHANGED from 2023?
As of this writing, the drink driving limits for Ireland in 2024 are:
Between 51-80: 6 months.
Between 81-100: 1 year.
Between 101-150: 2 years.
Above 150: 3 years.
Between 68-107: 6 months.
Between 108-135: 1 year.
Between 136-200: 2 years.
Above 200: 3 years.
Between 23-35: 6 months.
Between 36-44: 1 year.
Between 45-66: 2 years.
Above 66: 3 years.
Do you get a choice? Can you choose which specimen you want to give?
No. The choice is the Garda’s.
If you’re arrested and brought to the Garda station, you may be required to provide a breath specimen. The machine used (the Evidenser IRL) is usually located in a specific room in the Garda station.
Provided that it’s working properly, and you have no medical issues that is the specimen you will have to give. In other words, you cannot insist on giving a blood or urine specimen if the Evidenser machine is working.
In fact the Gardai can legally demand either a breath specimen and a blood or urine specimen.
Why would they do this? Why would they demand a breath specimen as well as a blood or urine specimen?
This rarely happens but when it does its usually because the machine isn’t working properly.
Evidenser machines are fragile pieces of equipment and frequently break down. This is because they are very sensitive to humidity changes or electronic devices in close proximity.
Remember the last time you took a flight and the cabin crew told everyone to switch off all mobile phones? This is to make sure that the radio signals from mobile phones don’t interfere with the airplane’s important navigation equipment or sensors.
It’s the same deal with Evidenser machines.
They have important sensors that communicate with one another, and this can be affected due to temperature changes. Even Garda radios, equipped with powerful encryption technology, can potentially impact the reliability of the Evidenser machines.
This is why some Gardai leave their radio equipment outside the Evidenser Room, so this doesn’t happen.
Back to the law.
If the Evidenser machine is not working, a doctor or nurse will be called to take a blood or urine specimen from you.
Here you do have an option as to which specimen to provide. The law requires you to allow the doctor to take a specimen of your blood.
However, you have the option of providing a urine specimen for the doctor instead.
The Garda will tell you -in the presence of the doctor- that you must permit the doctor to take a specimen of your blood, or at your option, you can provide a specimen of your urine.
The option to provide urine is a sensible compromise for people who are afraid of needles. From my experience quite a lot of people in society are afraid of needles.
If you provide a breath specimen the machine will analyse the specimen of breath there and then. It will print out two copies of a ‘receipt’ and both the Garda and you will have to sign it. The receipt will contain your name and address as well as the result from the breath specimen you gave.
If it’s over the limit (i.e. 22) you should seek legal advice right away.
Remember the last time you took a flight and
the cabin crew told everyone to switch off all mobile phones?
This is to make sure that the radio signals from mobile phones don’t interfere with the airplane’s important navigation equipment.
It’s the same deal with Evidenser machines.
IF YOU GIVE A BLOOD or urine specimen you will not get the result there and then. This is because the specimen must be posted to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety to be analysed. This takes about 3-4 days, and you should receive a letter from the Medical Bureau within a week or 10 days (they are very quick) telling you what the result was.
If its over the limit (Blood: 50, Urine: 67) you should seek legal advice right away.