What happens if you get caught drink driving in Ireland? (Part 1)

Updated: May 12




IF YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED to provide a blood or urine specimen you will be given what is known as a “statutory warning” i.e. you will be told that if you fail or refuse to provide a specimen of blood or urine, this will be regarded as an offence and that this refusal offence carries a maximum fine of EUR5,000 and or 12 months imprisonment.


So, the requirement to provide a specimen of blood or urine is mandatory i.e. you must provide it, as otherwise you are breaking the law.


If you can’t provide urine you must tell the Garda.
This is not uncommon, but you must now
provide a blood specimen.
There is no choice about the matter.
You cannot rely on any ‘fear’ of needles
to halt the process now.


Whether its blood or urine a doctor or nurse will be called by the Gardai to come to the station for the procedure.

At one time it could only be a doctor who carried out the procedure but due to difficulties in getting doctors to attend Garda stations due to shortages of their number (especially in the West of Ireland) the law changed a few years ago to allow nurses to carry out the procedure instead.


Where nurses carry out the procedure this is most prevalent in Co. Galway and more rural areas around both that County and in both Mayo and Sligo. This is most likely due to the shortage of doctors on call in these large areas.


By contrast, it is rare to find a nurse attending at a Garda station in Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Galway city. This is presumably because there are plenty of doctors on call in these large urban areas.

But there is nothing that a doctor does when it comes to this procedure that a nurse could not easily do as well.


THE DOCTOR OR NURSE THEN attends the Garda station and are introduced to you in the “Doctors Room” of the Garda station.

The Garda who arrested you will then require you to nominate which specimen you wish to provide. Some people are afraid of needles and will automatically choose urine. In that case a plastic jug is unsealed from a box and given to the Garda.

They then take you to a toilet cubicle where you are handed the jug and you are asked to provide a specimen of urine.

Often people find it difficult to provide a specimen of urine while a Garda is standing close by.

Nerves automatically kick in and something that is normally quite easy becomes (in that environment) understandably much, much harder to accomplish.


However, the Garda must stand close by to observe that the specimen is being provided correctly, as over the years some people have tried to defeat the process by diluting their urine sample with water from the cubicle tap next to them.


If you can’t provide the specimen of urine (due to anxiety or stress) you must tell the Garda.

This is not uncommon, but at this stage the requirement reverts back to blood: you must now provide a blood specimen.

There is no choice about the matter now. You cannot rely on any ‘fear’ of needles to halt the process now.


Under the law you are required to provide blood but can, at your option, provide urine. If you cannot provide the urine specimen, then you must now provide the blood specimen.


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