Drink Driving Laws For The World’s Most Popular Cities


Most people are well versed in Australia’s drink driving laws, but what about other countries? Here is a list of the top 10 travel destinations of 2013 and the drink driving laws that apply. In some instances, if you get caught driving drunk in another country, you will be deported, but most of the time there are harsh penalties for tourists as well.

1. Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand has recently toughened its drink driving laws. Anyone caught driving drunk will face up to 6 months in jail and a hefty fine up to $2,000 US dollars (Bt 60,000). The legal limit is 0.05%, so if you are caught with a BAC over this limit, you could face time in one of Thailand’s notoriously horrific jails.

2. London, England

In England, the BAC limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (or 0.08%). If you are caught driving while intoxicated in the UK, you face up to six months in prison and a 2,500 pound fine, which equates to over $4,000 USD.

3. Paris, France

In France, if you are caught driving while drunk with a BAC of over 0.05%, you’ll be charged with a 135 euro fine (about $185 USD). If you are caught driving with a BAC over 0.08%, this is a criminal charge that could result in up to two years in prison and a 4500 euro fine.

4. Singapore

In Singapore, if you are caught driving drunk (with BAC over 0.08%), you’ll most likely have to pay $3,000 to $10,000 worth of fines and face the possibility of spending up to 6 months in jail for a first offense. Drink driving laws are strictly enforced in Singapore.

5. Istanbul, Turkey

Some say that drink drivers in Turkey are taken twenty miles from their home and are forced to walk back. Who knows if this is actually enforced, but the actual legal limit is 0.05%. The country doesn’t hesitate in using random sobriety checkpoints or breathalysing anyone involved in a car accident. There are also fines that often have to be paid on the spot.

6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

In Dubai, there is a zero tolerance for drinking and driving. That means that any amount of alcohol in your blood could mean jail time. The police are especially strict and closely patrol areas around nightclubs – with anyone caught could face jail time and a fine up to 20,000 dirham (about $5,500 USD).

7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The drink driving law in Malaysia is especially bizarre. If a married man is caught driving drunk, he and his wife will be jailed. Once again, who knows if this strange law is still enforced. Another interesting fact about Malaysian DUI laws is that penalties are more harsh for Muslim citizens.

The BAC cutoff is 0.08%. For a non-Muslim, the fine is $150 and one month in prison; for Muslims, the fine is $600 and up to six months in prison.

8. Hong Kong, China

In China, the illegal BAC while driving starts at 0.02%. If you are caught with this BAC, you face a penalty of 500 yuan (a little over $80 UDS). But if you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you may be incarcerated for up to 15 days and face fines of around $300 USD.

9. Barcelona, Spain

In Spain, if you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.05% or higher, you may be fined 300 to 600 euros (over $400-800 USD). What’s interesting is that if you are caught driving with a BAC of 1.2% or higher, this is a criminal offence; punishable with up to six months in jail.

10. Seoul, South Korea

If caught in South Korea with a BAC of 0.05% or higher, you face serious fines and even jail time – up to two years in prison and fines amounting to 5 million won (almost $5000 USD). Random breath testing is often used.

About the author


Kristen blogs for Carroll Troberman Criminal Defense, an experienced and compassionate law firm in Austin, Texas. Kristen wants to go to all of the places on this list.

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