Cayman Islands: Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol Or Drugs ("DUI") - Cayman Islands Traffic Law (2011 Revision)

Last Updated: 29 February 2016
Article by McGrath Tonner

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

This offence is also commonly known as "DUI", "DWI" or "drink driving". A person commits an offence in the Cayman Islands if he or she drives or is in charge of a vehicle on a road while he -

(i) is under the influence of alcohol or drugs to such an extent that his efficiency as a driver is impaired;

(ii) has consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit; or

(iii) has consumed illegal drugs so that when tested drugs are shown in his blood.

The 'drink drive' limit

Under the Traffic Law, the "prescribed limit" is-

(a) one tenth of one per cent weight/volume blood/alcohol concentration on a reading of an alcohol-in-breath measuring device;

(b) one hundred milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood; or

(c) one hundred and thirty-four milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of urine.

Penalty for driving under the influence

A person who commits the offence of DUI is liable on summary conviction –

(a) on a first offence, to a fine of one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for six months, or to both;

(b) on a second or subsequent offence, to a fine of two thousand dollars and to imprisonment for twelve months, or to both; and

(c) in addition, on a first or any subsequent offence, to disqualification from driving for a period of twelve months or such longer period as the court may order.

Where the offence causes the death of another, the convicted person is liable on indictment to imprisonment for a term of ten years and shall be disqualified from driving for a period of five years or such longer period as the court may order or to a fine of five thousand dollars or both.

Road side breath tests

Where a constable has reasonable cause to suspect that a person driving or attempting to drive or who is in charge of a vehicle on a road has consumed alcohol and committed a traffic offence or been involved in an accident that constable may, subject the caveat outlined below, request that person to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test by a portable alcohol-in-breath measuring device.

A constable shall, on requiring a person to provide a breath test under this section, warn that person that a failure to provide the breath test may render that person liable to prosecution.

A constable may arrest a person without a warrant if, as a result of a breath test taken under this section, he has reasonable cause to suspect that the proportion of alcohol in that person's breath or blood exceeds the prescribed limit.

A person who, without reasonable cause, fails to provide a specimen of breath when requested to do so commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction –

(a) on a first offence, to a fine of one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of six months, or to both;

(b) on a second or subsequent offence, to a fine of two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of twelve months, or to both; and

(c) in addition, on a first or subsequent offence, to disqualification from driving for a period of twelve months or such longer period as the court may order.

Provision of specimens of breath, urine or blood for analysis

A person who has been arrested for any of the above offences shall, while at a police station, be requested to -

(a) provide a specimen of breath for analysis by means of an alcohol-in-breath measuring device; or

(b) a specimen of blood, or one or more specimens of urine, for a laboratory test.

If a constable has reasonable cause to suspect that a person's ability to drive properly was, or might have been, impaired through drugs he may, with the consent of the officer in charge of the police station, request that person to provide a specimen of blood or urine notwithstanding that he has, in respect of the same arrest, been requested to and has provided a specimen of breath.

A request to provide a specimen of blood or urine can only be made at a police station or a hospital, but in the case of a hospital it can be made there only if -

(a) the constable considering whether to make the request has reasonable cause to believe that, for medical reasons, a specimen of breath cannot be provided or should not be requested at the police station;

(b) at the time the constable is considering making the request, a device or a reliable alcohol-in-breath device either is not available at the police station or it is at that time for any other reason not practicable to use such a device there; or

(c) the constable considering to make the request has been advised by a medical practitioner that the condition of the person requested to provide the specimen might be due to some drug.

If the provision of a specimen other than a specimen of breath is requested, the question whether it is to be a specimen of blood or a specimen of urine shall be decided by the constable making the request.

Rights of the accused and statutory safeguards

A constable, on requesting a person to provide a specimen under this section shall warn that person that a failure to provide the specimen shall render that person liable to prosecution.

The constable operating an alcohol-in-breath measuring device shall do so in the presence of another constable. A certificate signed by the constable operating the alcohol-in-breath measuring device as to the result of the breath test shall be countersigned by the constable in whose presence it was made.  

The constable requiring a person to provide a specimen of blood or urine for laboratory testing shall, if requested by that person, supply to him in a clean and suitable container, part of the specimen, or, in the case of a specimen of blood which it is not practicable to divide, another specimen which he may consent to being taken. The lab test shall be carried out by or under the supervision of a government medical officer or such other person as may be authorized by the Chief Medical Officer.

Failure to provide a specimen at the police station

A person who, without reasonable cause, fails to provide a specimen when requested to do so commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction -

(a) on a first offence, to a fine of one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of six months, or to both;

(b) on a second or subsequent offence, to a fine of two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of twelve months, or to both; and

(c) in addition, on a first or subsequent offence, to disqualification from driving for a period of twelve months or such longer period as the court may order.

Protection for hospital patients

While a person is a patient at a hospital he shall not be requested to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test or to provide a specimen for a laboratory test unless the medical practitioner in immediate charge of him has been notified of the proposal to make the request and does not object.

The ground on which the medical practitioner may object is that the request or the provision of a specimen, or in the case of a specimen of blood or urine, would be prejudicial to the proper care and treatment of the patient.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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