Most prosecutions for driving under the influence deal with cases where cars, trucks and motorcycles are involved.
However, a vehicle can be any type of transport under the control of a human, such as horses, wagons, bicycles, tractors, boats, trains or aircraft.
The laws regarding drinking and driving differ between countries. One difference is the maximum allowed level of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The BAC is the percentage of alcohol present in your blood.
Regardless of the applicable BAC level, if you exceed it, you are deemed incapable of safely controlling a vehicle. If you are caught while controlling a vehicle, you will be criminally prosecuted. Intoxication is never allowed as a mitigating factor in cases involving drinking and driving.
Some countries do not differentiate between driving and controlling a vehicle. Someone who is in control of a vehicle might not be the driver, but if they have authority over the vehicle, they are criminally responsible if they are on board and inebriated. If an intoxicated passenger has the keys of a vehicle in their possession, they may also be prosecuted, even though they are not behind the wheel.
Unlike some other types of criminal offences, courts do not accept Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) as a medical or psychological mitigating factor for drinking and driving. However, sometimes courts show leniency if an accused voluntarily enters a rehabilitation program before sentencing.
In a few progressive countries, drivers who have substance use disorder, are taken to detoxification centres and kept under guard until they can attend a court hearing, or they may be allowed legal medication while incarcerated. However, in most countries, they are summarily locked up, without provision for medical withdrawal.
With the rapid increase of alcohol consumption worldwide, and consequential rise in alcohol-related accidents, authorities have started imposing ever harsher punishments for driving while intoxicated.
One solution for social drinking in pubs and other public venues, is the designated driver system, where one member of a group remains sober and drives everybody home later. Taxis are also used, and in some cities there are businesses with chauffeured vehicles that specifically cater for revelers.
The most convenient method for moving around town, is to drive yourself, but this may not be feasible if you suffer from alcohol use disorder. The only solution for this, is to submit to rehabilitation treatment.
Drivers of vehicles are automatically subjected to what is termed “implied consent laws”, aimed at ensuring public safety. In most countries, refusing to allow law enforcement authorities to test you for intoxication while in control of a vehicle, is a crime in itself.
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