Drunken driving is an offence in India, like many other countries worldwide. The object of making it an offence under law is to improve road safety by seeking to bring down the number of accidents and fatalities caused by driver’s fault. We really can’t blame the authorities for thinking that, what with daily news of some drunken late-night-partygoer mowing down footpath dwellers. With statistics saying that almost 78% of all road accidents in India are caused due to driver’s fault , and of those legislators are only emboldened in their views.
PUNISHMENT- Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 delineates the punishment that is to be handed down to motor vehicle drivers who are found to have consumed more alcohol than the prescribed limit. It is worth noting that the legal threshold below which it is alright to consume alcohol is 0.03% or 30 mg per 100 ml of blood. In other words, no legal action can be taken against a driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is lower than this limit. However, if the blood alcohol content is found to be greater than 30 mg, he can be imprisoned for a period which may extend up to 6 months or a fine not exceeding Rs. 2,000 or both for the first offence. If the same offence is repeated within a period of 3 years, the offender can be imprisoned for a term not exceeding 2 years or asked to pay a fine not exceeding Rs. 3,000 or both.
Proposed 2012 amendment
In March 2012, the UPA Union Cabinet approved an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act that provided for a greater penalty on persons held guilty for drunk driving. As per the amendment, an offender could be imprisoned for up to 4 years or asked to pay a fine of up to Rs. 10,000. The amendment stated that the amount of punishment was to be determined in accordance with the level of alcohol in the blood. For example, for 30-60 mg of alcohol, the punishment was to be 6 months of imprisonment or a fine of Rs. 2,000/-. For 60-150 mg of alcohol, the punishment was to be doubled and so on. However, the amount of attention that is accorded to road safety in India can be determined from the fact that the government did not make a concerted effort to obtain parliamentary approval for the amendment which is why this forward-looking measure could never see the light of day.
Traffic Police do have the rights to stop you and inspect following documents,
· RC Card - Original
· PUC - Original
· Driving License - Original
· Insurance - Original Or Attested Photocopy
If you don't have valid PUC or Insurance papers while riding/driving Traffic Police have the rights to fine you on spot (Fine amount varies from state to state). As per the rules Traffic Police do not have the rights to fine you on spot if you do not possess Driving License & RC Card - One has the right to ask for Challan & appear in court with original License & RC Card after which judge will decide your penalty amount. However if you fail to produce the same it will be considered an offense and judge can penalize you with Challan amount as well as additional fine / jail time. Sadly Traffic Police are never interested in giving challan because it’s more paperwork for them so either they will try to settle for bribe or let you walk free.
Only Traffic Police have the rights to stop you & ask for paperwork of vehicle & driving license. State Police have the rights to stop you & ask for your identification proof, if required inspect your vehicle but they do not have the rights by law to ask you for your vehicle paperwork.
What to do- The law says that drunkenness is a kind of madness for which the madman is to blame
· Usually, as is evident from the provision in the law the first time offender is let off with a penalty and a stern warning.
· They will indeed tell you to come to the Court on a Specified date, for which you will go and appear.
· If you Plead Guilty, it will indeed have a record of you being caught for Drink & Drive and that you were Guilty of it. And it will be reflected in the Background check for Passport.
· If you don't want any record of it, then plead not guilty and fight the Case on merits which takes a lot of time though.