A month in prison for drink-driving in Monaco

Monaco Tribune

The 30-year-old electrician was stopped last summer on Avenue Princesse Grace with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.  


“What can I tell you, I’m in the wrong,” the man from Roquebrun stated at Monaco criminal court last Tuesday. On 30 June 2022, the young man, who was driving on Avenue Princesse Grace near the Fairmont Hotel, caught the attention of the police. With good reason: he was driving with his phone in his hand. As the police approached, they quickly realised that the driver was committing not just one, but two offences.

His strange behaviour prompted the Sureté Publique to breathalyse him. Bingo: the man tested positive, in fact three times the legal limit (0.77 milligrams per litre of exhaled air compared to 0.25).

SEE ALSO: INVESTIGATION. Drink driving: a never-ending battle in Monaco

“I don’t usually drive when I drink,” he pleaded in his defence. But that sounds less than convincing since this is far from a first offence. The man is a repeat offender and has previous convictions for driving under the influence of drugs, fleeing the scene of an accident and driving an uninsured vehicle. This time, he said he took the car following an argument with his wife.

The judge addressed him: “What is it going to take to get you to stop driving when you’ve been drinking? You know, you don’t have to take your car, there is public transport, taxis, or you can just wait until you are in a fit state.”

“We have exhausted all the penalties, the only option left to us is incarceration,” said the prosecutor, who believes that the defendant “has a drinking problem.” He then asked for one month’s imprisonment, a one-year ban on driving in Monaco and a 45 euro fine.

At the end of the hearing, the repeat offender was found guilty of all the charges against him. The court sentenced him to one month in prison, gave him a driving ban in the Principality for not one but three years, and a 45 euro fine for using a telephone at the wheel.

Drinking and driving, what are the risks?

The risk of causing a fatal accident is multiplied by 17.8 for drunk drivers, because even in small doses, alcohol has a direct effect on the brain. As of 0.5 grams per litre, our visual field is narrowed; awareness of relief, depth and distance is altered; sensitivity to glare is increased; alertness and resistance to fatigue are reduced and coordination is impaired. Also, generally, the effects of alcohol mean the driver tends to underestimate risks and overestimate his or her abilities.