Drunk Walking or Cycling, You Risk the Same Fine

Drunk Walking and Cycling: Risks and Penalties

Driving under the influence is heavily sanctioned by our Road Code, which is about to become even stricter on the subject due to the new reform.
The reason is easily understandable, alcohol intake above certain limits compromises driving skills, slowing down reflexes and encouraging risky behaviors, even leading to discomfort and fainting.
Therefore, those who drive under the influence endanger their safety and that of other road users, exposing themselves to the risk of accidents and distractions.

However, the risks are not as relevant when walking or cycling.
Yet, even pedestrians or cyclists who are drunk risk a fine, both because it is still an imprudent and potentially dangerous behavior, but also because it goes against common morality.

Penalties for Drunk Pedestrians and Cyclists

One who is drunk but not driving a vehicle cannot be sanctioned under criminal law, but violates Article 688 of the Penal Code.
This article punishes those in public places or places open to the public in a “state of evident drunkenness” with a pecuniary administrative sanction ranging from 51 to 309 euros.
It is not a crime, but an administrative offense that occurs only when drunkenness is evident.

For a drunk pedestrian, not only the detection of a certain blood alcohol level is sufficient for sanctioning – as it happens when driving – but there must be clear manifestations.
An annoying, noisy, inappropriate, and amoral behavior, in other words, drunkenness must be visible.
There is no liability if the drunkenness is innocent, not desired by the individual, and beyond their control.

On the other hand, if a drunk person is riding a bicycle, they risk the application of pecuniary sanctions identified by Article 186 of the Penal Code, starting from a fine between 543 and 2,170 euros for a blood alcohol level between 0.5 and 0.8 grams per liter.
However, it is not possible to impose penalties such as license suspension or revocation on bicycle riders, as the vehicle does not require a license.
The Court of Cassation has also stated that in these cases, there is no possibility of deducting points from a driving license, nor are there any consequences on the license if the drunk person is walking, except for specific circumstances.

Can Your License be Revoked for Drunk Walking?

For walking, a driving license is not required, so those caught walking with a blood alcohol level above the limit or in a state of drunkenness cannot receive any traffic-related sanctions.
However, there is an exception: if the drunk individual has just driven a vehicle or intends to do so in the future.

In particular, law enforcement agencies can penalize, under the Road Code, a drunk person they have just seen parking a car or whose recent use of a vehicle is evident.
Alternatively, they can monitor the drunk individual to check if they intend to drive and penalize them (provided that they have at least started the car, as attempting to drive is not punishable).

Legal Consequences of Drunk Walking

In addition to administrative offenses, drunk walking can have other legal consequences even if the individual has not driven a vehicle.
Specifically, if a person commits a crime (of any kind) while intoxicated, they risk receiving a harsher penalty due to aggravating circumstances.

Notably, those who have premeditated alcohol intake to commit a crime or simulate an inability to understand or act, as well as habitual drinkers who are often drunk, are punished more severely, although each aggravating factor has a specific purpose.

Therefore, drunkenness is not an excuse for committing a crime unless it was involuntary and led to a proven and actual inability to understand and act.
Both these conditions must be met to exclude liability; otherwise, the offender could have taken more appropriate precautions at a given time (avoiding excessive drinking or refraining from committing a crime, depending on the circumstances).

Author: Hermes A.I.

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