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Drunk Driving While Traveling Outside the U.S.

In the United States, 31% of road-related accidents are caused by alcohol consumption. That is high in comparison with Germany or the United Kingdom, for example, where their stats show that only 9% and 16% of the accidents are caused by drunk driving. What does that tell us? That we need to educate people more and maybe raise the penalties when it comes to driving under the influence.

But what happens when you go abroad? Some people prefer to use a car when they go on vacation. What you should probably know is that laws are different in each country. That is why the drinking limit is something you should know before you leave. While drinking a glass of wine with dinner may be fine where you live, other countries do not accept that. Below, you will find three countries with strict DUI policies.

South Africa

First, you can go to South Africa even if you have been convicted in a DUI case. However, their road-related deaths are through the roof. In 2015, statistics said that 58% of the road accidents are caused by alcohol. A driver is considered over the legal limit when their breath alcohol content reach 0.05%. As you can see, the limit is a bit lower than in the States.


In Canada, 34% of the driving accidents are caused by people who drink and drive. The phenomenon has dropped dramatically from 2000, by 43% to be exact, but that is because the law is strict when it comes to drunk driving. To start, getting into Canada with a DUI conviction is complicated. Any prior conviction, no matter how old you are, is cause for exclusion from the country. For example, US citizens who have a DUI on their records need special approval from rehabilitation from Canadian authorities before going to Canada. It can take several months to get that permission; a definite complication for those wanting to travel to Canada.


30% of Australia’s road accidents are caused by inebriated people, which is why the laws are strict there as well. As for entry, you can go to Australia if you have a DUI conviction, but there is one condition: your sentence should not have been imprisonment for more than 12 months. The drinking limit is the same as the United States, but it can differ depending on the category of car you are driving. If you are caught over the limit, you can face jail time, so it is better if you avoid drinking and driving.

What to do when caught drunk behind the wheel in a foreign country?

The first thing to remember is to not resist arrest. It can affect your bail. In some countries, like South Africa for example, you cannot refuse a blood test. Also, if you are in the country on a visa, you should have it with you at all time. Electronic visas work as well. If you are there on a passport, you should keep it around for identification. Any passport will do. Other than that, you always have the right to call a lawyer or a friend. Depending on the reciprocal treaties, you will be deported and prosecuted in your country of origin, but that also depends on the gravity of the offense. Not all DUIs reach prosecution phase.

If you need to speak to an expert DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, contact Jon Artz today to schedule a private consultation.

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