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Police begin issuing on-the-spot DUI tickets

Since the beginning of June, traffic police in Finland have been able to issue tickets for drunk driving.

Police must interview motorists suspected of driving under the influence before issuing a ticket. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

Police can now hand on-the-spot fines to drivers failing breathalyser tests. District courts were previously tasked with issuing fines in drunk driving cases.

The move aims to ease court backlogs, though it will increase the workload for police.

Offenders can choose if they want to take the ticket or see the matter through the courts, as has been the practice.

The Southeast Finland police told Yle that most people who get pulled over for drunk driving have wanted to get their ticket right away.

Courts will, however, continue to handle cases regarding drivers with multiple prior offences, according to district prosecutor Osmo Manninen from the Prosecutor’s Office of Eastern Finland.

The expedited ticket practice does not apply to those found driving under the influence of drugs or those with alcohol content high enough to classify as aggravated drunk driving.

A person is considered to be driving under the influence when their blood alcohol level is at least 0.05% or when an exhalation contains at least 0.22 milligrammes of alcohol per one litre of air, according to the Finnish Road Safety Council.

The threshold for aggravated drunk driving is blood alcohol content of at least 0.12%, or 0.53 milligrammes of alcohol per litre of exhaled air.