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What is the shortest ban for drink driving?

Updated: Mar 12


Then six months, one year, two years, three years and for years.

But the lowest is 3 months.


Firstly, lets make some assumptions.

Let’s assume you’ve given a blood specimen, and you have a full driver’s licence.

Any potential disqualification is based primarily on one thing: how much over the limit you were. The higher the level of alcohol in your blood the higher the disqualification period.


Court Summons

If you receive a summons for court and if you are convicted, you will be disqualified.

If you’re convicted.

If you fight and win, its like it never happened.

I am always an optimist when it comes to these things.


The legal limit is 50.

1.       If your blood/alcohol (BAC) is between 50-80 it’s a 6-month disqualification.

2.       If your BAC is between 80-100 its 1 year.

3.       Between 100-150 its 2 years.

4.       150 or above, its 3 years.

5. If you fail or refuse to give a sample it's 4 years.


What is the lowest ban for drink driving?

Now take another look at 1 and 2 above.

These deal with levels between 50-80 and 80-100.

These two levels are special.

Here’s why.


If your level is between 50-80 you are entitled to receive a fixed charge penalty notice in the post.


Because your reading was quite low.

And it is an entitlement.

More on that later.

The...thing to know about FCPN’s
is that if you pay the fine,
it is not regarded as a conviction.


The system recognises that if a person exceeds the limit, but not by a significant amount, they don’t have to be dragged through the courts.

Instead, the Gardai will write to you and give you a fixed charge penalty notice (FCPN).

There is a catch though. If you pay this fine (€200) you agree to voluntarily go off the road for 3 months.

If you refuse to pay the FCPN you will eventually receive a summons to court.

And if you are convicted there you will be disqualified for 6 months.

Losing in court is taxed at a higher rate.  


Likewise, if you come within the 80-100 bracket, you’re also entitled to receive a fixed charge penalty notice.

In this case if you pay the fine (€400) you’ll be agreeing to voluntarily go off the road for 6 months.


THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT things to understand about the FCPN regime.

Firstly, if you come within either of these low brackets you have an entitlement to receive a FCPN in the post.

You must receive it.

The law ‘presumes’ that you were served with the FCPN, but like any presumption it is ‘rebuttable’.

In other words, if you didn’t get the FCPN you will have to give sworn evidence of this in court.  

But a word of warning: you’re not entitled to receive an FCPN if you don’t have a driver’s licence or if you’re disqualified from driving.


The second thing to know about FCPN’s is that if you pay the fine, it is not regarded as a conviction.

A conviction is something that can only be recorded in a court.

If you receive a FCPN, pay it and go off the road for 3 or 6 months, this is not regarded as a conviction.


That’s often the biggest single factor that convinces people to pay the FCPN rather than take their chances with court.

Getting put off the road for 3 or 6 months is bad enough but keeping your record clean has massive advantages for people who want to travel abroad.

So, every cloud…




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