98 percent of drunk drivers sentenced to only 6 months’ imprisonment

TAIPEI (The China Post) – The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) announced earlier this week that a person charged with “driving under the influence” (DUI) could also be charged for voluntary manslaughter.

Some legislators questioned the new measures, however, stressing that 98 percent of drunk drivers are usually sentenced to less than 6 months’ imprisonment.

Unless drunk drivers receive stiffer penalties, the legislators said that the deterrence effect of the new policy could be very limited.

Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung said that DUI probation, which lets a defendant stay out of jail by agreeing to certain terms and restrictions, may vary pending on circumstances. Prison overcrowding should also be taken into consideration, said the minister who suggested to confiscate cars and implement various supporting measures for controlling drunk drivers.

There are for sure many convicted drunk drivers in prison, according to Deputy Minister of Justice Tsai Pi-chung (蔡碧仲), who also recommended to adopt various “complementary measures.”

For instance, the minimum fine for first-time offenders in Canada is USD$1,000 (NTD$30,000). Your driving license will be revoked for one year while recidivists will be sentenced to a minimum imprisonment of 30 days and a two-year suspension of their driving license.

Without a doubt, the public is running out of patience with the government’s slow improvement on curbing DUI cases. Some people even suggested to condemn offenders to “caning sentences” to address the issue.