Who, being in a state of intoxication or under the influence of a narcotic, drives a motor vehicle in land, water or air traffic, shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 2 years.
Who, being in a state of intoxication or under the influence of a narcotic, runs on a public road or in the residential area other than a motor vehicle (e.g. bicycle) is subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for a year.
The offense referred to in Article 178a of the Penal Code belongs to the most common. This is the so-called ineffective crime - the very fact of driving under the influence of illegal substances fills the hallmarks and can be the basis for a conviction.
There are a few things to consider when considering this crime.
First of all, it should be noted that crime is a state of intoxication. In accordance with art. 115 § 16 paragraph 1 of the Penal Code occurs when:
- the blood alcohol content exceeds 0.5 per mille or leads to a concentration exceeding this value or
- the alcohol content in 1 dm3 of exhaled air exceeds 0.25 mg or leads to a concentration exceeding this value.
It should be borne in mind, however, that it is also forbidden to drive a car after using alcohol (from 0.2 to 0.5 promile or between 0.1 and 0.25 mg of alcohol in 1 dm3 of exhaled air). In this situation, we are dealing with an offense (Article 87 kw).
It is very important that no similar intoxicants have been introduced into the law. Lack of this type of determinants makes it assumed that the presence in the body of a person driving a motor vehicle any, even trace amounts of these substances may be associated with criminal liability.
Significant controversies relate to the interpretation of the activity of "driving a motor vehicle". The doctrine unequivocally rejected the view that driving a vehicle "side by side" (eg a motorcycle) or setting it in motion with muscular force should be interpreted as actions fulfilling the features of the described crime. Greater controversy, however, is related to the assessment of the behavior of a person who, being drunk, takes the driver's place. Most interpreters are of the opinion that in order to speak about driving a vehicle, direct control over its movement is required - speed, direction, braking, etc. However, there are voices in favor of applying criminal liability when the vehicle is running the engine or even when the engine is off, but the keys are in the ignition. This deficit of statutory regulation is often used in practice as the basis for the activities of Police bodies.
It should also be remembered that the commission of the offense specified in art. 178a is connected with the imposition of a criminal measure in the form of a driving ban.
[Legal status as at April 2020]