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Caught Drunk Driving In India? Be Ready For Punishment

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Imtiaz Ullah
Imtiaz Ullahhttps://nomadlawyer.org/about/
Imtiaz Ullah is the founder of travel website - NomadLawyer. A Corporate Lawyer, Senior Travel Correspondent, The Traveller Trails magazine and also acts as an Advisory Member, NGO - Sarvahitey. His travel philosophy is exploring new places, meeting new people, knowing the culture, eating like a local. He always believes in the idea-“ Don't just be a traveller but a Responsible one”.

Caught Drunk Driving In India? Be Ready For Punishment

DUI or driving under influence is increasing manifold in India. It is creating a negative impact in the society we live in. For many people, it’s kind of cool to have some drinks and drive but in reality it isn’t, on the contrary, very dangerous to the driver and for others as well. Every year, an estimated 1.35 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide, and evidence suggests that alcohol often plays a major role.

Urbanization and growing affluence have to lead to more instances of drunk driving in India. Drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in India under the Motor Vehicle Act. In this article, we look at the laws of drunk driving in India and the punishment for drunk driving.

Also Read: https://nomadlawyer.org/top-rated-tourist-attractions-in-wichita/

In India, there is no uniformity with respect to liquor laws and it varies from one State to another, be it the legal drinking age or the laws which regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol. These variations in the prices and laws revolving around alcohol are due to the inclusion of the subject of alcohol in the State list which comes under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.

Legal Drinking Age In India

In India, the legal age for drinking varies from 18 years to 25 years from state to state, while some states have completely banned alcohol. For instance, states like Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, and others have a legal drinking age of 18 years. States like Delhi, Haryana, and others have a legal drinking age of 25 years, while most states have a legal drinking age of 21 years. Consumption of alcohol is completely banned in the states of Gujarat, Bihar, Manipur, and Nagaland, as well as the union territory of Lakshadweep.

Drunk Driving

Drunk Driving – Alcohol Limit in India

In India, the permissible blood alcohol content (BAC) is set at 0.03% per 100ml blood. That works out to 30mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

Drunk Driving Punishment

Currently, Section 185 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, makes driving under the influence of a criminal offense in India. As per the Motor Vehicle Act, driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs is punishable for the first offense with imprisonment for a term of up to six months and/or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees. Second or subsequent offense, if committed within three years of a similar offense, is punishable with imprisonment for a term of up to two years and/or with a fine of three thousand rupees.

Punishment and fine: Section 185 and 188 of the MV Act

If the BAC is 30 mg per 100 ml of Blood, then it does not amount to any offense. If BAC is within 30mg-60mg per 100 ml of blood, it shall attract imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs. 2000 or both.

If BAC is ranging from 60mg-150mg per 100 ml of Blood, imprisonment for 1 year or fine of Rs. 4000 or both can be imposed. Repeating of offence within a period of three years will be punishable with imprisonment, which can extend up to 3 years and/or fine Rs. 8000.

If the BAC is above 150 mg per 100 ml of blood, then it attracts imprisonment of 2 years and/or fine of Rs. 5000. Repeating this offence will attract a penalty of Rs. 10000, cancellation of license and jail.

Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016

The Amendment bill aims to improve road safety and provides for a higher level of fines and penalties for drunk driving. The penalty for drunk driving under the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 has been increased from Rs.2000 to Rs.10,000.

Can I Travel to India with a DUI? Important For Foreign Travellers

Again, each case will be processed individually. In general, the visa will be denied only if the applicant is deemed to pose a threat to the Indian public. A DUI and other crimes and infractions committed in your home country do not constitute reason for automatic visa rejection. This means that it’s possible to travel to India with a criminal record, depending on the applicant’s specific circumstances.

It’s paramount that foreigners provide accurate and detailed information during their application. Lacking information may result in the visa being delayed and even denied. Moreover, if an international traveler is found lying about not having a criminal record at the moment of applying for a visa for India, immediate penalties may apply.


A zero-tolerance policy must be devised and enforced. With proper checks this menace has somewhat taken a dip but it has to be solved from its very roots. Imagine someone losing his/her loved one because of some momentarily joy of someone who is under the influence. So act before it is too late, you don’t want to be held liable for someone’s death or grievous hurt. 

Also Read


Travel Laws By NomadLawyer- Ignore At Your Peril.

No one wants to be Banged Up Abroad. Research the local laws of your destination before traveling abroad.

An important and often overlooked part of travel preparation is to review the local laws of your destination. When you travel to a different country, you are subject to that country’s laws. Even if you unknowingly break those laws, you may be held responsible and pay the penalties.

NomadLawyer’s Travel Laws section covers the basics insight on local laws, consumer rules and rights pertaining to travel so that you can be prepared the next time you book a plane ticket or hotel room.

In this section, you can find articles on travel related laws of a place and unique or weird rules a traveler must follow.

For any travel related query reach out to us at [email protected]

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