Drunk Driving Laws in Mexico

The blood alcohol limits when driving in Mexico...

Driving while drunk in Mexico is considered a serious criminal offense and if found to be over the limit while driving, a motorist could be sent to prison. Driving under the influence of drugs is also considered a criminal offense and the penalties are the same as those for drunk driving.

As defined by the International Center for Alcohol Policies, Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a standard measure, referring to the ethanol in a given amount of blood. The measurements refer to milligrams of ethanol per millimeter of blood (mg/ml)

Drunk driving regulations vary between states. The national limit is 0.8 although in some states, the limit is lower. These include:

  • 0.4: Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Distrito Federal, Estado de México, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz.
  • 0.5: Chihuahua

A foreigner with a drunk driving conviction in the last ten years may be refused entry to Mexico.

Alcohol breathalizer checks are common in certain cities and police are allowed to stop motorists and ask them to take a breath test (alcoholímetro) if they have reason to believe that the driver is over the limit.

For learner drivers and drivers of public vehicles, heavy goods and toxic waste, there is a zero tolerance alcohol policy.

In Mexico City, checks during the daytime focus on service vehicles and at night focus more on the general public. A driver found to be over the limit may be detained for a minimum of 20 and maximum of 36 hours. This is mandatory and cannot be substituted by a fine or a caution.  As of December 2014, drivers apprehended for drunk driving twice in a single year, or three times in three or more years will have their licenses or permits revoked.

If there is a passenger in the car who holds a valid driving license and is under the legal alcohol limit, then with the permission of the arrested driver they may take the car. Otherwise, the car is impounded.