Driving Whilst Intoxicated

Have you been charged with the offence of driving under the influence? Do you have a criminal problem? Our lawyers have done this article to provide you with some basic information about the criminal consequences of driving whilst intoxicated.


Under Article 379 of the Penal Code a driver of a motor vehicle or moped has committed the offence of drinking whilst intoxicated when proved to be under the influence of toxic drugs, narcotics, psychotic substances or alcoholic beverages. This is not a closed list. It includes any substances which have a negative effect on a persons conduct – either a mental or physical impairment – that creates a danger to life and the health of third parties.

The prosecution must prove that you committed this offence and they do this by administering tests. These tests analyse your blood, urine and breath to determine if you have exceeded the legal limits. These tests are not always carried out accurately and fairly and so results can sometimes be wrong and inconclusive. Our lawyers will aid you in challenging your charge of driving whilst intoxicated if you believe that your test results are not reliable.

Under Article 380 a person who refuses to the testing will be charged with an offence of grave disobedience.

It is important to note that boats, helicopters, mopeds and cars are all classed as motorised vehicles and thererfore the limits apply to all vehicles when in use.

Alcohol limits under Spanish Law

  •  0.6 miligrams per litre of breath
  • 1.2 grams per litre of blood


Under Article 379 of the Penal Code a person who has been driving under the influence can be punished under Spanish Law with the penalty of –

  1. imprisonment for three to six months,
  2. a fine for six to twelve months, or
  3. community service from thirty one to ninety days.

And, in any scenario, will be punished with the deprivation of their right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds for a time more than one year and up to four years.


In relation to alcohol, it is of high importance to have been breathylsed or had an analysis of blood, or urine. Under Article 379 of the Penal Code the tests are only valid if the following requirements are met by the officials administrating the tests:

  1. There is a need for a Breathylser test to be carried out on the person charged. There must be an up to date calibration certificate of the Breathylser machine. If the certificate has expired a blood analysis is not enough to confirm the intoxication of a person.
  2. The must be a practice of a second test and the offer of a counter-analysis.
  3. The tests must be conducted with immediacy, publicity, orality and contradiction.

Your test results cannot be disposed of until after it has been confirmed that your did commit an offence.

If any of the above rules have not been properly followed by officials then this is a defence to a charge of driving under the influence. This could mean your test results are inconclusive and therefore cannot be used as evidence. If you think this could apply to you please get in touch with our law firm. Our lawyers are very capable and will be able to set a strategy to challenge your test results.


It is not likely there will be an exception to driving under the influence. This is as there usually will always be alternatives ways of action that do not involve driving whilst under the influence. If you are in a situation where there was no alternative action please contact our legal team who can advise you on the ways in which you could challenge your charge and come up with a strategic plan. It would be up to a judge to decide if your penalty should be shortened or if your charge should be dropped.


The law in relation to driving whilst intoxicated is complex and therefore if you ever are charged with this offence you should seek legal advice with a competent and experienced lawyer at an early stage. It is important to remember that convictions are not inevitable if you have been found driving under the influence. Police officers can make mistakes and therefore it is important to ensure you have been fairly charged.

Our criminal lawyers can help you with your case in Barcelona, Catalonia, or other areas of Spain.

Should you need further information, or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers. You can contact us by using the contact form below.

Disclaimer: This information in this article is not definitive, for up to date legal advice which is relevant to your case please contact our lawyers.

Piñera del Olmo

Granada del Penedès 10, entlo
08006 Barcelona

Tel: +34 93 514 39 97

WhatsApp: +34 675 58 14 62