The Seriousness of Drunk Driving and The Law

Drunk driving and the law

The Seriousness of Drunk Driving and The Law

If the seriousness of drunken driving charges is not enough to deter you from getting behind the wheel, consider the potentially fatal consequences that might result when you do not pay attention to your blood alcohol level.

“One for the road,” as the old adage goes, is frequently heard when we find ourselves at social gatherings. In these situations, many people have a proclivity to overindulge, especially when reaching the point where common sense has “left the building” altogether.

Do you have a sense of when you have gone too far and are you aware of the penalties you could face if your blood alcohol level is higher than it should be?

Alcohol-impaired driving is a significant offense in South Africa, with drinking and driving being particularly serious.

Everything you need to know about South African alcohol, as well as drunk driving and the law, will be addressed in this article.

Do not believe the myths

Alcohol will not be eliminated by drinking coffee, cold showers, using Red Bull, or even by sprinting around the block. Time is the only thing that can eradicate alcohol from the body.

In South Africa, what are the legal alcohol limits?

When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, Section 65 of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 (the “NRA”) lays forth the rules and regulations.

  • The allowable blood alcohol level for driving is less than 0.05 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.
  • During a breathalyser test, you must have less than 0.24mg of alcohol in 1000 ml of breath.

Some of the risks of DUI

  • Poor Decision-Making and Bad Judgment
  • Delayed Reflexes and Poor Coordination
  • Decreased Vision Increased the Risk of an Accident.
  • Getting a DUI Could Have Serious Legal Consequences

The consequences of being arrested for driving while intoxicated are serious

If you are found to be above the legal limit after taking a breathalyser test, you will be arrested and brought into custody by a member of the law enforcement community.

In the event that you are subjected to additional testing at an alcohol testing facility, you are not permitted to decline the tests. You are, however, permitted to have your medical practitioner present. You have the opportunity to request to view the sealed needle and syringe while you are being tested as well.

After being arrested for DUI, what is the next step?

It is likely that you will be held in a holding cell until you have been granted bail or until the next court appearance, which must take place within 48 hours after your arrest, excluding weekends. Read our blog post on, what are your rights as accused?

Alcohol Percentage in Drinks

  • Vodka | ABV: 40-95%
  • Gin | ABV: 36-50%
  • Rum | ABV: 36-50%
  • Whiskey | ABV: 36-50%
  • Tequila | ABV: 50-51%
  • Liqueurs | ABV: 15%
  • Fortified Wine | ABV: 16-24%
  • Unfortified Wine | ABV: 14-16%
  • Beer | ABV: 4-8%
  • Malt Beverage | ABV: 15%


Despite high levels of abstention in the population, South Africans are among the world’s most heavy drinkers. Alcohol consumption in South Africa is the fifth highest in the world, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Status Report, with a consumption rate of 28.9 liters of pure alcohol per capita per year.

Preventative measures are better than cures. Drink sensibly and keep in mind that assistance for alcoholism is simply a phone call or a mouse click away if you need it.

In addition, you may check the website of Arrive Alive for further information on how much alcohol is too much to consume before driving.

Written by Heinrich Gonzales, Director of HFG Attorneys Inc.


The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

HFG Attorneys in Paarl, Western Cape, specialises in four main areas, including family law, general litigation, criminal defence and firearm law.


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