What are the drink driving limit in South Africa? Penalties in South Africa.

drink driving limit south africa

Alcohol abuse and drunk driving in South Africa are the main contributing factors of road deaths in South Africa.

Accidents including fender benders, involving pedestrians or animals, single-or multiple vehicle collisions and damage to property are just some of the consequences of drunk driving.

Legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in South Africa

Section 65 of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1998 determines that the legal alcohol limit in South Africa for driving must be less than 0.05 g of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. For a breathalyser test, the concentration of alcohol must be less than 0,24 milligrams of alcohol per 1 000 millilitres of breath.

In South Africa, approximately 50% of people who die on the roads have a blood alcohol concentration of above 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres.

What happens if you are arrested for drunk driving?

Drunk drivers will be arrested by a law enforcement officer (member of SAPS or Metro Police) and detained at the nearest police station after they have been in an accident, have been driving erratically, or failed a breathalyser test at a roadblock. During this time of detention, he/she will not be allowed to smoke until the specimen has been taken. Furthermore, no person will be allowed to refuse that a specimen of blood, or a specimen of breath, is taken of them. They can however insist on the presence of a medical practitioner. After a docket has been opened, you will be held in custody until you have been granted bail, or at the next court appearance. The court appearance needs to be done within 48 hours and excludes weekends if you are arrested over a weekend. You could therefore spend a maximum of 72 hours in the cells if your arrest is over a weekend.

Penalties for drunk driving

Drunk driving laws in South Africa are serious. Penalties for drunk driving in South Africa are equally serious and may have devastating consequences.
If the offence is serious (e.g. if someone died in the accident), only the prosecutor/judge/magistrate will grant you bail. You will be charged with culpable homicide, or even murder.

When determining your sentence, the magistrate will take previous offences and the nature thereof into consideration. Previous offenders are likely to be punished more harshly than those with no previous convictions.

Punishments for drunk driving vary depending. You can go to jail for up to six years, or more if the charge is changed to culpable homicide or murder. You could also be given a fine. Currently, fines vary between R2 000 (minimum) and R120 000 (maximum).

According to Arrive Alive, if you kill someone while driving under the influence, you can go to jail also be fined up to R180 000. You could furthermore lose your license and get a criminal record up to 10 years.

You could also be given a suspended sentence. This means that if you are caught again, the previous penalties, plus the new penalty, will become applicable.

The above penalties could seriously affect your future. Future job prospects and many other facets of your life could be adversely affected. You can also be required to do community service, or attend a rehabilitation centre.


Drinking under the influence of alcohol is a chance simply never worth taking

Source: Arrive Alive; Medical Research Council; GoLegal Information Portal

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for general information purposes. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

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