Drunk Driving Laws in Mexico 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Mexico

Drivers in Mexico must comply with a specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit, which stands at 0.08% or 0.8 grams of alcohol per liter (g/L) of blood. However, the BAC limit is lower in some states, like Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Distrito Federal, Estado de México, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Chihuahua. Additionally, there is a zero-tolerance alcohol policy for novice drivers and drivers of public vehicles.

Several factors, including the number of standard drinks consumed, influence an individual’s BAC level. Depending on personal factors, typically, it takes approximately one to two drinks to reach a BAC level of 0.08%.

This page aims to provide education and raise awareness regarding the dangers associated with drunk driving in Mexico. It is important to note that this website neither promotes nor encourages drinking and driving in any location or country.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), 19% of road traffic accidents in Mexico are attributed to alcohol. This figure underscores the significant impact that impaired driving has on the overall safety of Mexican roads.

The National Law of Mobility and Road Safety, which was fully ratified in May 2022, marks an important milestone in Mexico’s ongoing efforts to address the country’s persistently high rates of road traffic fatalities and to improve inclusive and sustainable access to transportation services.

It is of utmost importance to refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol, as it not only endangers your own safety but also poses a risk to other drivers on the road.

To mitigate potential hazards, it is advisable to consider alternative transportation options such as designated driver services, taking a taxi, or utilizing other safe means of transportation if you must travel after consuming alcohol.

Being aware of and comprehending the drunk driving laws applicable in the country you are in is crucial. Additionally, monitoring your blood alcohol level using an alcohol breathalyzer is essential to ensure that you operate a vehicle in a suitable condition.

For more detailed information regarding drunk driving regulations in Mexico, kindly visit the Official Gazette of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la Federación) website.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Mexico

The consumption of alcohol can have a notable impact on your driving abilities, even if you consume a small quantity. Even a BAC level ranging from 0.010% to 0.029% can affect your coordination and judgment, with symptoms becoming more pronounced as the BAC level increases.


Drunk driving laws and penalties differ from country to country. In Mexico, drunk driving carries severe consequences. It is crucial to assess your blood alcohol level before driving to ensure that you can safely operate a vehicle.


Below are the general penalties for drinking and driving in Mexico for your information.


  • Individuals who are apprehended for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any substance may face the revocation of their driver’s license or driving permit for a minimum duration of one (1) year.
  • Depending on the severity of the case, driving with a BAC level exceeding the legal limit may result in imprisonment.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Mexico: When Can You Drink and Drive in Mexico?

As mentioned earlier, various factors, including gender, can influence a person’s BAC level. Research indicates that men and women have different BAC levels due to the higher concentration of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes in men’s bodies, which play a role in alcohol metabolism. Consequently, men tend to absorb alcohol more rapidly than women.

Consuming alcohol can have adverse effects on vision and increase the likelihood of accidents. Therefore, avoiding drinking before driving is advisable to prioritize safety.

The recommendations below serve as a general guideline for determining the amount of alcohol one can consume before driving in Mexico. However, it is essential to recognize that individuals’ responses to alcohol vary, and the following information should be viewed as an approximate reference, as it may not be universally applicable.

How Many Bottles of Beer Can You Drink and Drive in Mexico?

Drink beer and drive in Mexico

Body weight is significant in determining blood alcohol levels. BAC charts indicate that individuals with lower body weights tend to experience higher BAC levels.

For instance, a 160-pound (72 kg) male may reach a BAC of 0.02% after consuming a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer. Conversely, a woman of the same weight who drinks the same amount of beer might have a BAC of 0.03%. This example highlights the influence of gender on alcohol metabolism.

Depending on which state you are driving, we recommend limiting your beer consumption to one to two bottles.

How Many Wine Glasses Can You Drink and Drive in Mexico?

A typical wine glass holds approximately 142 milliliters (5 ounces) of liquid and typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 12%.

If a 72-kilogram (160-pound) male consumes one glass of wine, his BAC may reach 0.02%. However, it is crucial to consider that factors such as stress, an empty stomach, and medication intake can influence BAC levels.

Limiting wine consumption to one or two glasses is advisable to maintain a safe BAC level. 

How Many Whiskey or Vodka Shots Can You Drink and Drive in Mexico?

Distilled spirits like vodka and whiskey typically have a standard ABV of 40%. 

It is best to limit your consumption to one to two shots of whiskey or vodka if you have plans to drive later.

Keep in mind that BAC levels in Mexico may be lower than 0.08%, depending on which state you are driving.

Sticking to Drink and Drive Laws in Mexico

Operating a vehicle while impaired poses a significant threat to road safety, and even the slightest amount of alcohol can impede a driver’s coordination and driving skills. Therefore, drivers need to take necessary precautions and fully understand the consequences of drunk driving.

It is crucial to know your blood alcohol level, even if you have only consumed a single beer or a small quantity of wine. If you are uncertain about your driving ability, exploring alternative transportation options is advisable.

To effectively monitor your blood alcohol level and ensure compliance with the legal limit, using a certified alcohol breathalyzer is a reliable approach. 

For the most up-to-date information on drinking and driving regulations in Mexico, we recommend visiting the official website of Diario Oficial de la Federación.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.