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The legal alcohol limit in Dublin

In Dublin, the legal alcohol limit varies depending on the license category. In this article, we will explain the different legal limits there are and the punishments which are provided if someone is caught violating the limit(s).

Legal limits for individuals with a Category B license

Any person with a Category B* license is subject to the following legal alcohol limits:

0.05% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

  • 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood
  • 67 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of urine
  • 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath

*Note: If you are unsure what a Category B license is, check out our article explaining Category B licenses!

Legal limits for learner drivers

0.02% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

  • 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood
  • 27 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of urine
  • 9 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath

Consequences for violating alcohol limits with a Category B license

The following punishments may occur if any individual driving with a Category B license is found violating the legal alcohol limit or driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over that of the legal limit.

Driving with a BAC between 50mg and 80mg

  • Any driver with a category B license caught driving under the influence with an assumed blood alcohol content between 50 milligrams and 80 milligrams will be arrested.
  • If an individual is confirmed to be driving over the legal blood alcohol limit once an official breathalyzer test is done, they will be given a fine of €200 and receive three penalty points.

Consequences for violating alcohol limits as a learner driver

The following punishments may occur if any individual who is still learning to drive is found driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.02%.

Driving with a BAC between 20mg and 50mg

  • If a driver is a learner or novice and is caught driving under the influence with an assumed blood alcohol content between 20 milligrams and 50 milligrams, they will be arrested and taken in for an official test.
  • If the individual is confirmed to be driving over the legal blood alcohol limit once an official breathalyzer test is done, they will be given a fine of €200 and receive three penalty points.

Driving with a BAC between 50mg and 80mg

  • Any learner or novice driver caught driving under the influence with an assumed blood alcohol content between 50 milligrams and 80 milligrams will be arrested.
  • If an individual is confirmed to be driving over the legal blood alcohol limit once an official breathalyzer test is done, they will be given a fine of €200 and receive three penalty points.

Consequences for violating alcohol limits with any category license

There are certain consequences that apply to any driver, not just drivers with a Category B license. These punishments include:

Driving with a BAC between 80mg and 100mg

  • Any driver caught driving under the influence with an assumed blood alcohol content between 80 milligrams and 100 milligrams will be arrested and brought in for a breathalyzer test.
  • If a driver is officially confirmed to have a blood alcohol content between 80 milligrams and 100 milligrams, they will be given a fine of €400 and will be banned from driving for six months.

Driving with a BAC of 100mg or higher

  • Any driver caught driving under the influence with an assumed blood alcohol content of 100 milligrams or higher will be arrested and brought in for a breathalyzer test.
  • If an individual tests above 100 milligrams, they will face an automatic court appearance and will be banned from driving for a minimum of 12 months.

Why are blood alcohol limits so strict?

According to Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Department of Transport (DOT), low BAC levels and strict drinking-driving limits is one of the most effective ways to keep Ireland safe and prevent serious injuries. For instance, when Queensland, Australia introduced similar blood alcohol concentration limits, the state saw an 18% decrease in fatal accidents. In addition, drivers with blood alcohol concentrations between 0.05 and 0.09% are at least 9 times more likely to be involved in an accident than at a blood alcohol concentration between 0 and 0.02%. In summary, Ireland’s strict blood alcohol limits are in place to keep all drivers safe and away from harm.

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