Drink Driving in Malaysia a Criminal offence?
Drunk driving is a severe offence in Malaysia and is treated as a criminal offence. It basically means a person who drives a motor vehicle whilst the alcohol concentration in their blood, breath or urine exceeds the legal limits.
The Legal Limits of drinking could be:
(a) 22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath;
(b) 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood; or
(c) 67 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine.1
Malaysia has stringent laws and regulations to deal with offenders caught driving under the influence of alcohol, especially after the Amendments of the Road Transport Act come into the picture. If a driver is found to have exceeded this limit, they can be charged with driving under the influence (“DUI”). A DUI charge is a serious offence in Malaysia, and the penalties can be severe.
The penalties for drunk driving in Malaysia can range from fines to imprisonment and even the suspension of driving licenses. This article will discuss the legal action against drunk driving in Malaysia and the consequences that offenders may face.
What are the penalties for Driving under the influence (DUI)?
The penalties for drunk driving in Malaysia could be varied in 3 situations:
(a) Drunk driving or attempting to drive or being in charge of a motor vehicle on the road or other public place;
(b) Drunk driving that causes injury to another person; and
(c) Drunk driving that causes the death of any person.
1. The first conviction of drunk driving in Malaysia can result in a fine of not less than RM 10,000.00 and not more than RM 30,000.00 AND imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) years, as stipulated under the amended section 45A as in the Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2020. The offender will be disqualified from holding and obtaining a driving license for a period of not less than two (2) years from the date of the conviction2, and may be required to attend a mandatory alcohol education program.
2. For a second or onward conviction, the penalties increase significantly. The offender may face a fine of not less than RM 20,000.00 to RM 50,000.00, imprisonment for a term of up to five (5) years, and be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving license for a period not less than five (5) years from the date of conviction3. They may also be required to attend a mandatory alcohol education program.
If a driver causes injury or death while driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, he or she may be charged with a more severe offence. Under Section 44 of the Road Transport Act 1987 amended in 2020, if a driver is found guilty of causing death by reckless or dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol, the convicted offender may face imprisonment for a maximum term of fifteen (15) years and a fine of up to RM100,000. Whereas if a driver causes injury while driving under the influence, the convicted offender may face imprisonment for up to ten (10) years and a penalty of up to RM 50,000.004.
May damage to their career or professional reputation?
In addition to the legal penalties, drivers who are convicted of drunk driving in Malaysia may also face social and professional consequences. They may be required to disclose their conviction to their employer, which could result in the loss of their job or damage to their professional reputation. They may also face difficulties obtaining future employment, as many employers would conduct background checks before hiring.
Do you need to hire a lawyer?
If someone is charged with drunk driving in Malaysia, they have the right to hire a lawyer to represent them in court. A lawyer can provide legal advice, assist with plea bargaining, and represent their client in court proceedings.
The role of a lawyer in a drunk driving case is crucial as they can help the offender understand the charges against them and the potential consequences of a conviction. They can also assist in negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution, which may result in reduced charges or penalties. If the case goes to trial, the lawyer can represent the offender and argue on their behalf.
In addition to representing the offender in court, a lawyer can also guide the administrative process of a drunk driving charge. This may include advising on the process of appealing a license suspension or helping the offender apply for a hardship license.
Overall, a lawyer can provide valuable support to someone who has been charged with drunk driving in Malaysia. They can help protect the offender’s rights and provide expert guidance on navigating the legal system. If you need any legal advice on this matter, contact us for a qualified lawyer in Malaysia.
If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact us.
1Section 11 of the Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2020, amendment of section 45G of its Principal Act.
2Section 7 of the Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2020, Amendment of Section 45(2) of its Principal Act.
4Section 6 of the Road Transport (Amendment) Act 2020, Amendment of Section 44 of its Principal Act