November 17, 2023

It is prohibited legal behaviour to drive while drinking in India. The punishment and compensation are contingent on the nature and severity of your harm. When a drunk driver commits an accident that results in death, they may be condemned to a prison term and have to pay damages to the family of the deceased.

Drinking and Driving: About

Drinking and driving is the practice of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcoholic beverages. It occurs when a person uses illegal substances or consumes more alcohol than is necessary and becomes less capable to drive safely.

This is an extremely serious offense that might result in injuries, crashes, or even deaths. Individuals who indulge in this dangerous conduct encounter harsh laws and consequences anywhere in the entire globe.

Legal Age for Drinking

  • India’s legal drinking age ranges from 18 to 25 years old, with several states outright prohibiting alcohol. For example, the legal drinking age in states like Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, and others is eighteen.
  • While the majority of states possess a legal drinking age of 21, some, like Delhi, Haryana, and others, have a legal drinking age of 25.
  • In the union territory of Lakshadweep and etc., alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited.

Drinking and Driving: Appropriate Laws

The appropriate legislations dealing with drinking and driving which is discussed by various RJS Coaching in Jaipur from the judiciary point of view are:

Motor Vehicles Act of 1988

According to Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, operating a motor vehicle or attempting to operate one while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs is prohibited if:

  • According to the breathalyser test, there were in excess of 30 milligrams of alcohol in his blood per 100 millilitres or
  • If they are unable to operate the vehicle, they will face penalties for their first offense, which could include up to six months in jail, a fine of up to two thousand rupees, or both. If they commit a second or subsequent offense within three years of committing a similar offense, they could face up to two years in jail, a fine of up to three thousand rupees, or both.

Indian Penal Code

  • In the case that intoxicated driving causes a fatality, the accused may face charges for negligently causing death under IPC Section 304A. For culpable homicide that does not amount to murder, the maximum penalty for this offense is two years in jail and a fine.
  • In addition, reckless driving under IPC Section 279, which has a maximum sentence of six months in jail, a fine of Rs 10,000, or both, may be brought against the accused.

Motor Vehicles Act: Major Amendments

  • A driver’s license is valid for 20 years, or until the age of fifty, whichever comes first. Upon turning fifty, licenses will be valid for an additional five years.
  • The owner of the vehicle is responsible for replacing it or paying for any damages if there is a flaw that endangers the driver, the environment, or the road.
  • If a road accident victim passes away while receiving medical attention, the person providing aid to them in good faith will not be held accountable in any civil or criminal procedures.
  • Electronic monitoring will be in place for car registration, license issuing, fine collection, and address changes.
  • The maker of motor vehicles faces fines of as high as 100 crore rupees, penalties, or both if he violates manufacturing requirements.

Drinking and Driving: Defense under the Motor Vehicles Act

The defenses highlighted by various RJS Coaching in Jaipur are as follows:

  • Intoxication is one of the general defense covered under the Indian Penal Code.
  • These exclusions outline specific situations under which an individual may be shielded from criminal prosecution. These exclusions may include, among other things, consent, lunacy, and intoxication.
  • The onus is on the accused to prove their innocence or exonerate from criminal prosecution. In most cases, the prosecution must establish the accused’s guilt in order to obtain a conviction. In circumstances involving intoxication, however, the accused must prove their exemption claim.

In Salman Salim Khan v The State of Maharashtra’s case, Salman Salim raised the defense of the accident under the virtue of Section 80 of the IPC, however, it is abundantly evident that he was intoxicated when he drove his vehicle carelessly and rashly, which led to the incident that resulted in one person’s death and four injuries.


In India, driving while intoxicated is becoming a more serious crime. People break all the regulations pertaining to the sale, purchase, and consumption of alcohol, and these people are very powerful. It demonstrates how badly laws are applied in our nation. Individuals who regularly consume alcohol always attempt to break the law. To do this, one must abstain from driving after intoxication and raise awareness among friends and family according to various experts’ discussions in the RJS Coaching in Jaipur. Bar operators that serve alcohol in an open manner should be subject to strict licensing regulations to avoid such menace.

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