24 criminal cases for drunk driving in one week in Latvia

Take note – story published 1 year and 6 months ago

For a week now, driving a car under heavy alcohol intoxication of 1.5 promilles and more has been a criminal offense, instead of an administratively punishable act. Despite that, drunk drivers still sit behind the wheel, and between November 25 when the act came into force, and December 1, police have launched 24 criminal cases, Latvian Radio reported Friday.

As reported, the infringement is subject to deprivation of liberty for a period of up to one year, temporary deprivation of liberty, probation supervision, public work, or fines, losing the right to drive a vehicle for a period of five years, as well as the confiscation of the vehicle.

Traffic safety expert Oskars Irbītis told Latvian Radio that he is most concerned whether all drunk drivers will be wary of the possible criminal liability.

“I am personally very, very concerned by that part of society that doesn't care. They've lost their driver's license some time ago, so they haven't really got anything to lose. This part is the riskiest, and the main thing that is dangerous to the others is they are prepared to take risks. Especially if they really don't have anything to lose,” said Irbītis.

There are concrete examples of such situations. Eva Lūse, editor of regional newspaper Rīgas Apriņķa Avīze, said that if changes to laws had been adopted in time, at least one life might have been saved. The newspaper describes the story of an irresponsible drunk driver who, despite countless punishments, has been committing offenses for 20 years until he killed a pedestrian in Jurmala.

"The driver, Vitālijs, has been fined 18 times previously for driving the car under the influence. It turns out that this man doesn't have a driver's license at all. This means that previous punishment measures – that a person is deprived of the license – do not work at all in this case, because he simply does not have one. His criminal past is terrifying. He's sat in Jēkabpils jail for two months in the past year for drunken driving, but it hasn't helped," Lūse said.

As reported earlier, a staggering 3,500 drivers are stripped of their licenses due to drunk driving in Latvia each year – equivalent to nearly 10 every single day. 

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important