Drinking responsibly this summer

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Summer is a time for fun in the sun and often our favourite outdoor activities go hand in hand with a glass of wine or a cold beer. Make sure you have a hummer of a summer by thinking about how to enjoy alcohol outdoors responsibly before hitting the beach or heading to a mate’s for a barbeque.

If you plan to drink then you need to have a plan in place for transport. If you are under 20, this plan cannot involve you driving as there is a zero alcohol limit for drivers under 20 years of age. Those who chose to drive after drinking face either an on the spot fine or a criminal charge depending on how much alcohol they have on their breath.

If you are over 20, you are allowed to drive after drinking alcohol provided you do not exceed the limit of 250 micrograms per litre of breath or 50mg per 100ml of blood. Drivers with over 250 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath will receive a $200 fine and 50 demerit points. Drivers with over 400 micrograms of alcohol per breath will face criminal charges and risk three months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to $4500. If you have previous convictions for driving with excess breath alcohol, the penalties may be increased.

The amount you can drink before going over the limit depends on a number of factors including gender, size and how much you have eaten.

In 2015, Hospitality New Zealand released a “rule of thumb” guideline to help Kiwis enjoy the silly season without getting into trouble. A female can drink two standard drinks over two hours while men can enjoy three standard drinks over two hours. The guideline cannot be treated as gospel, but does have the endorsement of government science agency ESR.

Another issue to be extra aware of over summer are liquor ban areas. Local government laws allow territorial authorities to create alcohol-free zones where there are concerns alcohol may lead to criminal offending or disorderly behaviour. These areas must be clearly sign-posted and often include main streets and popular beaches and parks. If you are entering a liquor ban area, Police can search your bag to see if you are carrying alcohol. If you are caught drinking alcohol, Police can confiscate the alcohol, fine you $250 and search you and your vehicle.

If you have any questions about how you can make the most of summer, feel free to give us a call.