Drunk driving criminalized in Latvia

Drunk driving, or teaching someone else to drive when blood alcohol concentration exceeds 1.5 promilles will be subject to criminal liability in future, according to amendments to the Criminal Law approved by the Saeima on October 27.

Criminal liability is also intended to be imposed on driving or teaching to drive a vehicle under the influence of narcotic, psychotropic, toxic or other intoxicating substances.

The amendments will apply to driving all types of cars, tractors and other vehicles, trams, trolleybus, motorcycles and other motor vehicles with the exception of vehicles with an internal combustion engine with a capacity of less than 50 cubic centimeters. Bicycles, scooters and mopeds will not be covered by this provision in the Criminal Law.

The infringement will be subject to deprivation of liberty for a period of up to one year, temporary deprivation of liberty, probation supervision, public work, or fines, minus the right to drive a vehicle for a period of five years.

Similarly, it will be intended to confiscate the vehicle for drunk drivers. In cases where the Criminal Law is violated by driving a vehicle belonging to another person, the full or partial value of the car will be recovered from the drunk driver caught.

Criminal liability has also been determined for the refusal of a medical examination for the determination of the concentration of alcohol in the blood or the examination of the effects of narcotic, psychotropic, toxic or other intoxicating substances. Until now, criminal penalties in such cases have only been imposed on drivers who do not have a driver's license.

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. 

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