What shall we do with the drunken sailor? Fine him 700 euros

Take note – story published 2 years ago

While Latvia's State Police are well known for their regular anti-drunk driving blitzes on the roads, they have now developed amphibious capabilities for their breathalyzers and are reportedly boarding boats amidships to crack down on drunken sailors.

According to a police release, officers in Aizkraukle district launched their galley into the River Daugava and quickly found four swabs awash with grog.

One offender was found in a rowing boat with an outboard engine who was as pickled as a pirate with a fearsome 1.52 per mille alcohol in his breath. The man then doubled up on his buccaneering tendencies by offering to pay booty of 60 euros to law enforcement officers in order not to file an administrative violation proceeding, hardly the Treasure of the Spanish Main. Criminal proceedings have been initiated for attempted bribery of the police and driving a boat in public waters under the influence of alcohol. A fine of 120 euros was also imposed on the man, which will need be paid by bank transfer rather than in gold doubloons or Malagasy pearls. 

A short distance along the horizon near Pļaviņas, another man was driving a motorboat under the influence, this time being smashed out of his skull and crossbones to the tune of 1.43 per mille. In this case, too, an administrative violation proceeding was initiated. However, after about three hours in the same place, law enforcement officers again found the same man driving the same motorboat on the same River Daugava. 

No evidence of Edgar Allan Poe-type whirlpools or maelstroms being evident on the placid stream to account for this reappearance, police again introduced themselves and enquired after the state of his inebriation. The man refused to allow another check on the alcohol concentration in his exhaled air or to go to a medical institution for an examination, and therefore Pursuant to the Law on Maritime Administration and Maritime Safety, a fine of 700 euros was imposed, which may sound a lot, but is still a lot milder a taste of the cat o' nine tails.

Continuing their Jerome K. Jerome-like river excursion, police officers happened upon a motorboat driven by a man in Klintaine Parish, Aizkraukle District. A mere 0.61 per mille was found in his breath, possibly the result of a few too many glasses of port wine while drifting downstream. The law stipulates that a fine of 75 to 700 euros can be imposed for driving a recreational craft if the concentration of alcohol in the blood found in the driver's exhalation or medical examination exceeds 0.5 per mille, and the right to drive a recreational craft may be revoked for a period of up to one year. Which is what happened.

A final offender was found in Pļaviņas, where a particularly black-hearted villain was not only driving a motorboat under the influence of alcohol, but also refused a breath test, did not comply with the lawful demands of the police, did not prove his identity, tried to escape from the scene, and – the police make a particular point of recording – was also extremely rude to them, using words and phrases that would make Blackbeard blush.

For this last fact alone he deserves keel-hauling, but as that is no longer a punishment permitted under the criminal codex, as far as the legal profession is concerned he can now enjoy the benefits of no fewer than four administrative violation proceedings, namely: for concealing his identity, for failing to comply with the lawful requirements and disrupting the activities of officials, for petty hooliganism and for refusing a breath test.

The State Police emphasizes that being in a boat and driving under the influence of alcohol is very dangerous both to those on board and other members of the public.

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