Saeima wants drunk driver penalty to be in line with harm done

The Legal Committee of the Saeima on Wednesday reviewed, in the third reading, amendments to Criminal law about changing the liability of the driver for driving under the influence, reported LSM's Russian-language service Thursday.

In the future the liability for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be covered by a single article of Criminal law. The punishment is to be set according to the harm done to the victim.

The punishment for driving without a valid driving licence will be either imprisonment for up to a year, community service or a fine, and confiscation of property is also possible.

While causing light wounds when driving under the influence will be punishable with imprisonment of up to four years or all of the above along with losing the licence. Causing wounds of middle severity is proposed to be punishable with imprisonment of up to five years and taking away the licence for seven more, while if a driver causes severe wounds or death of the victim, the proposed punishment is ten years in prison and ten more without a licence.

In case if the DUI accident causes the death of two or more people, he or she will be punishable from 3 to 15 years in prison and taking away the licence for 5 to 10 years. Alternative punishment like confiscating the property of the person responsible is also possible, like in the cases described above.

In Latvia it's illegal to drive with a BAC starting with 0.02 promiles for those who have a licence for less than two years, and with a BAC of 0.05 and more if you have a licence for at least two years.

The amendments to the law are still to be confirmed by the Saeima.

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