The offence of driving under the influence of alcohol is an offence against which there is no defence as such (although objections such as coercion or automatism, which are not specific to the offence of driving with excessive consumption of alcohol, may be applicable in some rare cases). However, it can be argued that there are special reasons, such as that the offender should not be deprived of his driver`s licence even though he has committed the offence. Special reasons are notoriously difficult to determine, and the burden of proof is always on the accused to establish them. These reasons may be: If you are under 20, the breath alcohol and blood alcohol limits are zero. So if you have alcohol in your breath or blood, you can be fined and receive demerit points. HNZ`s „Know Your Limits“ decision is both reasonable and appropriate given the current confusion in players` minds, which has been exacerbated by mixed and confusing messages from authorities. Parliament has told us that it is acceptable to drive in moderation after drinking, but the NZTA and the police say we should not drink at all before we get behind the wheel. Meanwhile, the media has spread scary stories about how easy it is to get caught when we are drunk under the new limit. If you commit two alcohol-related offences in five years and one of those offences involves the following: The alcohol industry was quick to call this confusion cautionary, saying sales are declining because people choose not to drink instead of risking a limit they don`t yet understand. Hospitality New Zealand (HNZ) says the NZTA and police are to blame because their „drinking or driving“ message contradicts the law`s „drinking moderately is good“ message. For this reason, and because even small amounts of alcohol can interfere with your driving, the best advice is: if you drink at all, don`t drive.
The real confusion is therefore finding a balance between „knowing your limit“ and the reality of fluctuating norms and portion sizes. The message not to drink at all while driving completely eliminates this confusion. Drunk driving is a significant problem in New Zealand. The Ministry of Transportation says about 30 percent of fatal traffic crashes are alcohol-related, and those crashes have resulted in about 1,100 deaths and 5,300 serious injuries over the past decade. (Land Transport Amendment Act (No. 2) 2014 Questions and Answers, Ministry of Transportation (last updated December 4, 2014).) A 2012 survey found that around 60% of New Zealanders supported lowering the legal drinking and driving limit. (Ibid.) In 2013, the World Health Organization reported that 89 countries had included the recommended blood alcohol level of 0.05% for adults in their drinking and driving laws. (Ibid.) In the United States, the blood alcohol level, at which all states prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle, is 0.08, although it is possible to be convicted of being unfit to drive at a lower blood alcohol level.  Some states define two traffic offenses.  Refusing a blood test is a criminal offence.
A driver convicted of a first or second impaired driving offence can face jail time of up to three months or a fine of up to $4,500 and lose their driver`s licence for six months or more. The current law provides that a person will be prosecuted if a conclusive breath test shows more than 400 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath. (Land Transportation Act, 1998, section 56.) The Act Amendment Act 2014 did not change that. The first and second offences of impaired driving are punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or a fine of up to NZ$ 4,500 (approximately US$ 3,500) and suspension for six months or more. Third parties and subsequent offences are punishable by imprisonment for up to two years or a fine of up to NZ$ 6,000 (approximately US$ 4,668) and licence suspension for one year or more. (Ibid.) The requirement for a court to impose a three-year „zero-tolerance licence“ on repeat offenders was introduced in 2012 (§ 65B), as was the possibility of enrolling a person in a drinking programme; The ignition interlock program involves a number of steps, including the installation of an alcohol interlock device in the offender`s vehicle starting system. (Land Transport Act 1998, section 65A; The Alcohol Interlock Programme, NZ TRANSPORT AGENCY (last update 1. December 2014).) Alcohol is the leading cause of road accidents due to drinking and driving.
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