Driving in Germany
To drive in Germany unattended you need to be over 18 years old and to have a valid driving license. This is sufficient for the first 6 months of your stay.
International driving license
Your own driver's license is valid in Germany, at least at the outset. If it was issued by a European Union country, you will never need to exchange it for a German one. If it was issued by a country outside the EU, you can only use it for six months from your date of arrival. If you will be residing in Germany for longer than six months but less than one year, you can obtain a six-month extension to use your existing license.
If you stay longer than one year and are not from an EU country you have to get a German driving license. To find out the specific requirements for exchanging a license it is best to contact the local authorities. Please contact the local office on the right: KFZ-Zulassungsstelle - Führerscheinstelle.
Drink and Drive
1) How much you are allowed to drink
before you get into trouble with the police? Nothing is best but maybe you test before you use the car. German online alcohol test (use with translator of your choice).
2) Why do THEY stop you?
Sometimes just bad luck and you drive into a police checkpoint, sometimes alcohol shows in your driving. This is a wine region, police is used to drunken drivers. Sometimes a person sees how you get into your car swaggering and calls the police or just thinks your driving is unusual and calls. Legally police has to follow up each call.
3) Stopped drunk? Behaviour on the scene:
I strongly recommend to be polite to the police officers during the process. They write a report on the incident and your behaviour might become important later.
You do not have to take the breath test on the spot. It is a fast way out if you did not drink or just a small amount. (Please check in the tester what a small amount is). But if they suspect you have been drinking and try to hide the amount, Police can force you to take a test on blood alcohol concentration (BAC)executed by a doctor at the police station.
You either agree at once or have them call the legal prosecutor to allow them to use force.
In both cases your blood will be drawn and the costs are on you.
4) Costs and consequenses:
43,57€ for the test plus the doctor’s work time and travel expenses (120,00€ up to 150€ give or take.)
About a week later the results will be know to the police officer who has the case and you can call them up.
If you see the costs and the trouble, and this is just the beginning if you get fined, next time just take a tax
This information is jus a rough outline given to me by the police and each case will be looked into individually by the officials! But they might help to make decisions beforehand.
0,3° is ok if you do not have an accident or drive strangely.
Consequences: If you are under 21 or a beginning driver under probation there will be trouble. For all the others: If you have an accident (it does not have to be your fault at all) and get tested for alc under suspicion a prosecution lawyer will decide if the fact that you had any alcohol at all affected the situation
0,5° - 0,8° if you are tested by the breath test somewhere between those digits you will be asked to make a blood test
Consequences: You will be fined and depending on the severity of your driving deficiencies and connected incidents temporarily loose the right to drive in Germany. In some cases you might be allowed to drive in your home country, still.
Legally this is considered to be a minor breach of the law.
0,8° – 1,1° Same procedure as above plus a bigger fine, a longer time without your licence and the case will be decided by a prosecutor if this has still been a minor breach of law or a criminal offense. For instance: 0,9 equals minus 8 months driving licence plus about 3.000€ fines.
1,6° All above, complete loss of the driving licence and if you want it back you have to make an “Idioten test”.