The Saeima Criminal Justice and Sentencing Policy Committee on Tuesday backed amendments which provide for increased penalties for drunk drivers. The fines could range from from €6,200 to €3.1 million, LSM reports.
The amendments provide for a fine to be imposed for driving under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic, toxic or other intoxicating substances, and related offenses as a mandatory additional punishment on top of another type of punishment.
For example, driving under the influence of said substances while also lacking a proper category driver's license could fetch between €1,860 and €620,000. The same fine amounts would apply if a driving instructor is found to have a blood alcohol content of over 1.5 promilles.
A fine of between €3,100 and €1.24 million as a mandatory additional penalty should be imposed for violation of road traffic regulations or vehicle operating regulations if it has been committed by a person driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic, toxic or other intoxicating substances and if this has caused mild injury, while the upper limit rises to €3.1 million if grievous bodily harm or death has occurred.
If the fine is not paid, it will be replaced by imprisonment. The amendments also aim to abolish the possibility of ordering community service as punishment, because it is not an effective punishment in order to discourage such violations.
The change also states that the offense will no longer be punishable only by a fine, but a fine will have to be imposed as an additional penalty to other types of punishment prescribed by law.
The amendments follow an analysis of statistical information at the disposal of the Prosecutor's Office based on which even after the previous changes of criminal liability for drunk drivers, which can result in vehicle confiscation, the punishment imposed on the person does not achieve the desired effect. A significant number of drivers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs still remain, the Latvian Ministry of Justice said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski