#63Alcohol behind the wheel

In recent times, we have increasingly encountered the fact that the accident rate of drivers on Slovak roads largely has a common denominator, which is the consumption of alcohol by the driver. Consumption of alcohol by the driver of a motor vehicle is prohibited under Slovak legislation.

This fact is regulated in the sixth chapter of the Criminal Code in its first part, under the title of generally dangerous crimes. The provision of § 289 under the title endangerment under the influence of an addictive substance in the first paragraph defines the factual nature of this crime. The factual essence is fulfilled by the person who performs a job or other activity in a state that excludes competence, which he brought on under the influence of an addictive substance, in which he could endanger the life or health of people or cause significant damage to property. 

For such action, the offender will be punished by imprisonment for up to one year. The same punishment will be given to the offender if, while performing a job or other activity mentioned above, he refuses to submit to an examination for the detection of an addictive substance, which is carried out with a breath test or an orientation test device, or he refuses to submit to a medical examination by taking and examining blood or other biological material, or not is affected by an addictive substance, although this would not be associated with a danger to his health on examination.

Driving under the influence of alcohol can also be considered a misdemeanor. An offense against the safety and smoothness of road traffic is committed by a person who, as a vehicle driver, refuses to undergo an examination to determine the consumption of alcohol or another addictive substance in the manner established by a special regulation, even if such an examination would not be associated with a danger to his health. The same applies to a driver who consumes alcohol while driving a vehicle or drives a vehicle at a time after consuming it when, based on an examination carried out according to a special regulation, alcohol is still in his body. However, it is interesting that this provision does not apply to cyclists, drivers of scooters with an auxiliary motor and drivers of self-ignition vehicles driving in the village. If found guilty of this offence, the perpetrator faces a fine of up to EUR 1,300 and a ban on driving a motor vehicle for one to five years.

The main difference between whether the offender commits a crime or a misdemeanor while driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is precisely the measured blood alcohol levels. If the measured alcohol level is under one per thousand, it is a misdemeanor. Above this level of alcohol in the blood, driving a motor vehicle is considered a criminal offence. Proving the presence of alcohol in the blood is carried out either by a breath test or a blood sample. The persons authorized to carry out such an examination are mainly members of the Police Force and employees of the municipal and city police. Once upon a time, however, the tolerance of alcohol behind the wheel and its potential penalties were more benevolent. Currently, in the current legislation of the Slovak Republic, zero tolerance is required. For the sake of comparison, however, it should be noted that many countries have set certain limits, with northern countries such as Norway and Sweden dominating with the lowest 0.2 promile. Most EU countries set the limit of impunity for alcohol behind the wheel at 0.5 prmile. These countries are, for example, France, Italy, Austria. The highest permissible limit within the EU countries is 0.8 promile of alcohol in the driver's blood, and Great Britain and Ireland are among such tolerant countries. 

It can be said that the Slovak Republic is among the countries with the strictest legislation, but it still has no shortage of drivers who decide not to respect it. The number of traffic accidents is counted in the thousands every year, and the number of alcohol-related deaths on the roads in the hundreds of victims.

Legal commentary

We provide daily commentary from various fields of law, business, and audit. We try to give an objective and impartial view of current topics that move the professional world.

  • AuthorAdmin
  • Date27.10.2022