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Thegonnec, Judge
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 1486
Experience:  15 years experience as judge at Paris Industrial Tribunal
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On Saturday evening my friend paused his drive from London,

Customer Question

On Saturday evening my friend paused his drive from London, UK, to south of Bordeaux in Vivonne. Here he intended to sleep in the car before travelling on to the final destination - Mimizan. He went into a restaurant and had a meal. He had beer with his meal. When he came out to sleep in the car, he decided to move it to a darker part - from outside the restaurant to a car park opposite.
There were Gendarmes there and they arrested him. They took him first to a hospital and then to the police station and kept him over night. They asked him questions about the amount of Euros he had (it was the beginning of the holiday!) and they took his licence to send to the DVLA, UK. They gave him a Court Date - when he said he would be back in the UK by the time the date came round, they took a fine of about £250. The Gendarmes also said that he was suspended for 6 months. Can the gendarmes carry out summary sentence like this?Please explain the consequences of :
1) not attending Court in this situation - does he then have an arrest warrant out for him? our holiday may overlap with the Court date, despite being in a different part of France - will he be stopped at Calais?
2) By paying the fine has he pleaded guilty without any mitigation? If he was able to arrange to make the Court Date, could he have the suspension, etc reversed?
3) When will he be able to drive in France again? Will he have to make an application?
4) He may be returning to France soon - would this affect his entry?I am asking these questions on his behalf as he does not have great internet access where he is.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: French Law
Expert:  oleksandrav-mod replied 1 year ago.
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thank you. please keep looking.
Expert:  Thegonnec replied 1 year ago.

The gendarme can take administrative measures to protect the public, with the assent of the public prosecutor, once a person has been found at the wheel of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The driving ban taken this way cannot be longer than 6 months and will expire when the driver is judged in court.

1) Yes an arrest warrant will be issued and if taken he may be taken into custody and jailed until trial (up to 9 months). It is likely he will be arrested when going through customs and immigration in France or any Schengen zone country.

2) Pleading guilty or not is kind of irrelevant if he was taken into hospital and blood-tested for alcohol... If he does not go to court the suspension is likely to become a revocation and additional sentences might be hefty including jail. Beware that bilateral agreements between the UK and EU countries will make suspensions and revocations applicable back in the UK too...

3) Yes once the suspension period is over, as the court will determine. Beware it's not only in France but in all Europe.

4) If he does not show up in court, he won't be able to travel anywhere in continental Europe (Schengen Treaty zone) without facing arrest and extradition.