Q COSTA RICA – In the face of complaints by many of Costa Rica’s “excessive traffic rules”, take a page from Costa Rican soccer player Giancarlo González, now playing for Palermo, Sicily who recently got pulled over in Italy for driving over the alcohol limit.
The Italian publication MediaGol reported that while driving his BMW X4 in the middle of the night (2:00am said Rotocalcio), he was pulled over in a routine traffic spotcheck. The breathalyzer test resulted in a 0.55 reading.
In Italy, the limit is 0.50, thus he had be license taken from him and got a ticket for 500 Euros. ($536 US dollars or ¢300,000 colones).
Contrary to the report by Fiorella Masis in La Nacion, who wrote and I quote, “In Costa Rica, Gonzalez would not have had setbacks, as the maximum is 0.75″, Gonzalez, blowing a 0.55 in Costa Rica would have faced a similar fine (¢310,000 colones), but would have not lost his driver’s license. Unless, he was a newbie driver (under three years) or professional (taxi and bus driver, for example).
The drinking and driving law in Costa Rica, article 143 of the Ley de Transito, sets the following limits for Category A fines, the maximum of ¢309.574,47 colones (for 2016): over 0.20 up to 0.50 for professional drivers and drives with less than three years and 0.50 up to 0.75 for all other drivers.
Above those limits, it could mean jail (for sure if someone is injured or killed because of your drunk driving) as it becomes a “criminal offence”, that includes the criminal charges, loss of all points that means a ban on driving and confiscation of the vehicle. Worse on repeat offences.
Many are surprised that it is legal in Costa Rica to drink and drive. The law says you cannot drive drunk. WTF?
Also, while doing research for this article, I also found that when pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving you must submit to a test and can ask for a second test if you don’t like the results of the first. Article 208: “De resultar positiva la prueba efectuada, el interesado podrá requerir al oficial de tránsito la realización de otra prueba que consista en análisis de sangre, orina u otros análogos, según la naturaleza de la prueba originalmente practicada en concordancia con los protocolos establecidos para tales efectos.”