Driving & Drinking
¡Hola! It´s your friendly Canary bird, dipping into the bird-bath and wetting my whistle.
In Spain you can and often will get stopped at road blocks (controles) and asked to provide a breath test Usually they will ask you first “Have you been drinking?” and you´d be wise to answer truthfully, even if you have had just a soupcon.
It´s not unusual for the Policeman “Señor Agente” to give some lea-way on the limit (0.25mg/L in the breath and 0.5m/L in the blood) – if you´re just over, but if you lied, he´ll throw the book at you. You´re in Spain and everything is in the Policeman´s power. He could let you off with a caution if he thinks your behaviour is respectful and you´re not too squiffy. But if he does proceed – you are in a lot of trouble! You can get put in the cage for the week end, receive a hefty fine, and lose your driving licence for anything up to 4 years. Police officers can cancel parking tickets too (and they often do) if you are a friend, have a friend or even better, a member of your close or distant family works as an officer.
In Spain the policeman´s word (from the local, national, regional or Civil Guard) is taken very seriously – never get in a flap with them, always acknowledge their infinite authority – they have great powers.
Dealing with the policeman and his report (denuncia) on the spot is advisable; they will want to avoid all the paperwork involved in charging you – a foreigner. If all else fails just say: “Yes Sir, you are absolutely right, you would know that I am in the wrong, unlike me – I´m not from around these parts”Sí Señor, Usted tiene toda la razón y lo sabrá, ya que no soy de por aquí” Learn that phrase in Spanish, it could be more useful than enquiring for directions to the local aviary.
Remember if drink is driving you to break the law, don´t be a jail bird, you´ll be caged by the local beak. Taxis go cheap.