Drink Driving in Singapore
Drink Driving in SingaporeUpdated on Tuesday 23rd March 2021
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Drink diving in Singapore is, of course, an offence, just like it is prescribed by the legislation of other jurisdictions. Given that this can have a tremendous impact on the life of the person who is drink driving in Singapore, but also on the life of other traffic participants, the applicable regulations prescribe very harsh punishments to all types of situations, regardless if the driver is accused for the first of drunk driving in this country or if he or she is under a subsequence accusation.
In these circumstances, a person who is accused of this offence must receive legal representation from a lawyer in Singapore, who can create a legal strategy that can be as favorable as possible. Our law firm in Singapore has the necessary legal expertise to represent clients in these cases.
When can a person be charged for drink driving in Singapore?
The legislation on drink driving is very clear and prescribes various types of punishments, depending on the particularities of the case (the level of alcohol intoxication, the damages created due to drink driving, the casualties involved and numerous others). According to the Road Traffic Act, Section 67(1), it is illegal to drink and drive in Singapore or to be under the influence of any other substances that can alter the natural state of a person.
A person can be charged for this offence in the case in which a regular police control shows that the person has an alcohol level above the legal limit or in the case in which a person is observed in traffic as being unable to control the vehicle due to the fact that he or she is under the influence of alcohol.
Please be aware that in the case in which the police requires you to take a test which can show the level of alcohol in your blood, you are legally required to accept the request, if the police considers that there are sufficient reasons to request this. Not complying with this requirement is also considered an offence under the rules of the above mentioned Act, and in this case, the person can actually be accused for drink driving in Singapore even if the person did not take the test at the respective moment.
What are the penalties for drink driving in Singapore?
The penalties for this offence will be established as per the regulations of the law and they will depend based on the state of the person at the moment when he or she was caught by the police or in the case in which an accident takes place. Currently, the following are available:
- if a driver has more than 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, he or she will be considered drunk and will be fined;
- the same applies in the case in which the person has more than 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood;
- fines will be applied based on the level of alcohol in one’s blood or breath, and they can vary from $2,000 to $10,000;
- persons who will receive a subsequent conviction will have to pay a fine of minimum $5,000 and maximum $20,000;
- please be aware that drink driving in Singapore can also lead to imprisonment of up to 1 year (even in the case of less serious cases) or to 2 years for subsequent convictions.
The current legislation is available on the Singapore Statutes Online, a website created by the Singapore Government with the purpose of providing free access to the various rules of law enacted in this country. However, extensive information can be obtained from our team of lawyers in Singapore, who can represent you in front of the court in the case in which you or someone close to you is accused of drink driving.
Given that drink driving in Singapore is seen as a serious accusation, it must be noted that most of the persons who were caught drunk or who caused accidents will support the consequences of the law. The courts involved in drink driving cases are rather strict and our team of lawyers in Singapore will be able to create a better approach, but one will definitely will at least be fined, in the case the person is not falsely accused of a felony.
It is also worth knowing that most of the roads in Singapore are covered by CCTV systems and, in the case in which you are accused of drink driving, the evidence will be very clear in most of the cases. However, exemptions from the rules can appear and this is why is highly advised to be represented by a law firm in Singapore when involved in this type of legal situation.
The video below offers a short presentation on drink driving in Singapore:
How does the court establish punishments in Singapore?
Most of the cases related to drink driving in Singapore will be dealt in a local court, where a judge will establish a sentence for the person who was caught drunk while driving. In a large proportion of these trials, the sentence will be issued in the form of a penalty, which will be established based on the severity of the case (that is, the damage created as a consequence of the person who was driving drunk, if applicable, and the level of alcohol the person had in his or her blood at the respective moment).
Our law firm in Singapore can present all the aspects involved in the stages of the trial, but one should know that the sentence will be issued based on the following two important aspects: the nature of the harm resulted from this offence, and the degree of culpability the offender had in the outcome.
In Singapore, the harm resulted during a car accident where the driver was drunk is established on four pillars – slight harm, where minor physical injuries resulted that do not need hospitalization or a medical leave or slight property damage, if the car hit various objects; the second category is moderate harm, where someone suffered physical injuries that need hospitalization and medical leave, without having any fractures or injuries that can have a permanent effect on the overall health of a person.
The next category is serious harm, in which, due to the accident caused by a person who was drink driving in Singapore, resulted in serious property damage or which has caused serious physical injuries to a person (here, fractures are included, permanent injuries are included as well, the hospitalization of the person, but also the need to provide urgent and significant surgeries).
The fourth category is very serious harm, which refers to very complicated cases, in which a person has lost a limb due to an accident, or has lost the eyesight/hearing. Very serious cases included here refer to paralysis or the loss of life. These four categories will then be connected with the class of culpability in which the offender is included; you can find out more information on this from our lawyers in Singapore.
Here, the offender can be included in three basic classes, which are created taking into account the alcohol level and the behavior of the offender at the moment when the event took place. You should also know that the legislation in Singapore does not provide any means through which a person who was caught drunk driving can excuse himself or herself.
Basically, the only way through which a person can be found not guilty for drink driving in Singapore is if he or she can prove that the moment when the alcoholic beverages were consumed was after the person stopped driving, as per the regulations of the Section 71A of the Road Traffic Act.
Another legal option is to prove that once the offender consumed alcohol, he attempted to stop driving. It is also possible to contest the validity of the alcohol test; here, you can request legal advice from our lawyer in Singapore, who can present the legal options the offender has.
Please be aware that a person can be charged with drink driving in Singapore even in the case in which the car is parked and the person who is not driving the car but who is in charge of the vehicle is found to be drunk. The possibility of being accused of this offence can take place, however, only in the case in which the intoxication level exceeds a certain limit.
In extreme cases, where the accident resulted in the death of a person, the offender can be punished to a period of minimum two years in prison, and maximum eight. This is applicable in the case of first time offences, but persons who have subsequent offences for drink driving in Singapore, the punishment increases to minimum four years in prison and maximum 15 years.
In the less extreme cases, a person can be charged with the payment of a fine of maximum $5,000 and the punishment can also lead to one year of imprisonment, depending on other characteristics of the case. For subsequent offenders who are included in the category of less severe accident outcomes for their second offence, the fine is of $ 10,000 or imprisonment of up to 2 years.
It must be noted that the sentence can include either the fine, either the time spent in the prison, but in certain situations the offender will be sentenced to both; our law firm in Singapore can offer you with in-depth legal assistance on how these legal situations are established by the local courts. Additional types of fines can be imposed to an offender, but one should know that the maximum sentence for imprisonment can be of maximum 2 years in the case of less severe cases.
Being in charge of a vehicle under the influence of alcoholic drinks in Singapore
The legislation on drink driving in Singapore is very strict, as one can easily understand from this article, and it is necessary to know that the law is not limited only to the driver of a vehicle. Section 68 of the Road Traffic Act also regulates the legal framework applicable to a person who is in charge of a vehicle in the case in which the said person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages.
In this particular situation, the person who is under the influence of alcohol and who is not driving the car will be liable to the payment of a fine or/and sentenced to spend several months in jail, even though the said person is not the driver of the car or its owner. Provided that the respective person is found in the vehicle and if the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs to an extent in which he or she is not able to control the vehicle, then he or she will definitely face a penalty.
The same applies if the alcohol level measured in the person’s breath or blood is above the applicable limits. In these two situations, the person will have to pay a fine that varies between $500 and $ 2,000; the person can also face a punishment of up to three months in prison.
In the case in which this is not the first situation for the respective person and if he or she is at his or her second conviction, the fine will increase from minimum $1,000 to maximum $5,000 and imprisonment to up to 6 months. The person can also have his or her driving permit suspended for a period of 12 months after the release from prison.
When can breath tests be taken in Singapore?
The manner in which breath tests are done in Singapore is also regulated under the same rule of law. Our team of lawyers in Singapore can provide an extensive presentation on the rights and the obligations of a person who is required by the police to participate in a preliminary breath test, as long as there are sufficient suspicions on this matter.
For instance, you should know that the police has the right to request this test in the case in which you were driving on the roads in Singapore or in any other public space and you had committed a traffic offence while driving. In the case in which an accident occurred, the police will always require the driver to provide a breath specimen, as part of the standard procedure.
It must be noted that the breath specimen can be provided under a breath test at the location where the police will stop the driver, but this can also be done at a police station. The preliminary breath test will always be done by a police officer. Not complying with this requirement can lead to the payment of a fine or even to imprisonment and the fine and the time spent in prison will vary based on whether the person is at his first offence or at a subsequent conviction.
According to the law in Singapore, a police officer is entitled to arrest a person who refuses to take the preliminary breath test; this can be done in the case in which the police officer observes that the person has specific gestures associated with drinking that indicate an alcohol level above the legal limit.
If the person is suspected of drink driving in Singapore and refuses to take the test, then he or she will most likely be arrested. This, however, will not apply in the case in which in the person who is suspected of drink driving in Singapore is hospitalized as a patient in a medical care unit.
When can a blood specimen be required for drink driving in Singapore?
As specified above, the proof of drink driving in Singapore can be done through breath tests or blood tests. As a general rule, the breath test will always be the first method in detecting if a driver drank prior to driving his or her vehicle. The blood test will immediately be requested in the case in which a person drove or attempted driving in Singapore and caused an accident between two or more vehicles or caused serious injuries to other persons or the death of a traffic participant.
If so, the Deputy Commissioner of Police will require a registered medical practitioner to take a blood specimen and verify the concentration of alcohol the person may have. The document that will be issued by the medical specialist will be provided in the form of a certificate, that will later be used as a part of a trial.
The document will specify the amount of alcohol discovered in the blood system and, based on this, the person will be convicted, as well as on all the other characteristics of the case – victims, damage, previous convictions and so on. In almost all cases, the assistance of a law firm in Singapore will be needed.
Please contact our team of lawyers in Singapore if you are involved in any case that is covered by the traffic legislation in this country. Our team will analyze the particularities of a case and will try to create the best legal course of action, especially when dealing with drink driving in Singapore.