In future, drunk driving could mean losing your car

Driving under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic, toxic and other intoxicating substances will finally involve criminal liability, and in addition the vehicle with which the crime was committed can be confiscated – that's according to amendments to the Criminal Law unanimously supported in a second reading by the Saeima on October 6.

It is planned that a person who drove a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or refused to be tested for the effects of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic, toxic and other intoxicating substances will have their vehicle confiscated. In the event that the criminal offense is committed with a vehicle belonging to another person, the full or partial value of this vehicle is expected to be recovered from the culprit, the Press Service of the Saeima said.

The amendments to the law provide for criminal liability for driving a vehicle or teaching someone else to drive it, if the concentration of alcohol in the blood exceeds 1.5 promile in a breathalyzer or blood test.

"Unfortunately, the situation on the streets and roads shows that not all drivers separate driving from intoxication. Criminal liability for driving while intoxicated will help prevent tragedies caused by drunk drivers and users of other intoxicating substances on the roads," said Jānis Butāns (Conservatives), the chairman of the Legal Commission responsible for the progress of the bill in the Saeima.

Currently, in accordance with the Road Traffic Law, driving a vehicle under the influence of more than 1.5 promile is subject to a fine and the right to drive is revoked for five years.

In order for amendments to the law to enter into force, they must be approved by the Saeima in the final reading.

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