What happens if you get caught drink driving in Ireland? (Part 2)

Updated: May 12



IN THIS CASE THE NURSE OR DOCTOR takes a specimen of your blood via syringe and places equal amounts of it into two glass vials.


This is all done in your presence.

These vials are then placed in protective steel tubes and will be placed in a brown cardboard box for posting to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety to be tested.


Before they are both packaged away the Garda will offer you one of these samples of blood to have tested independently if you wish to.

Very few people actually accept the sample of blood but the option is there for people if they want.


The reality is that the testing mechanisms in the Medical Bureau of Road Safety are of a high quality and abide by international best practices.

In the UK privately owned laboratories have been retained by the State to process blood and urine samples.

Some of these independent labs have later come under adverse scrutiny as their testing mechanisms have been found to be defective, resulting in convictions being overturned.


In Ireland we have one testing laboratory. That is the Medical Bureau of Road Safety.

It is State-backed and funded and is run very efficiently.

For instance, if they receive a specimen of blood or urine today, they will have the specimen analysed and a result obtained within 3-4 days of having received it.


Once you have provided the specimen of blood or urine (the entire process takes about 10-15 minutes at most) you will be released from custody, unless there is a good reason not to do so right away.


THE USUAL REASON IS INTOXICATION i.e. where the arrested person is so drunk that they cannot be released right away.

You cannot be released from custody if you are still drunk.

But in most cases people are not drunk and can be released right away.


You will receive a document in the post about a week or ten days later.

This document will be from the Medical Bureau of Road Safety and it will set out what the result of the test of your blood or urine was.


The details on the form will include your name, address, date of birth, the Garda station where you gave your blood or urine specimen, what time the specimen was given, the name of the doctor or nurse who administered the procedure and the result of the analysis i.e. whether you have exceeded the legal limit for blood or urine and if so, by how much.


You should keep this document in a safe place as your solicitor will need to see it.

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