The Legislative Yuan is continuing its revision of the criminal law related to drunk driving. The Ministry of Justice said repeat offenders can be fined up to NT$3 million.
Serious drunk-driving incidents are continually being reported. Some legislators in the ruling and opposition parties believe that the criminal law for drunk driving is too light. The Legislative Yuan's Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee met on the 21st to continue discussions on amendments to the drunk driving law.
Johnny Chiang, Legislator (KMT): “A first offense and causing death to someone gets a sentence of almost less than 3 years. If you don't raise the base penalty, then you blame the judge for issuing a light sentence.”
Hung Mong-kai, Legislator (KMT): “Heavy punishment may not repay the victims or soothe their hearts. But, we can't condone people who drink and drive and continually do it over and over.”
There is a consensus among many legislators to increase the criminal liability for drunk driving. There is even a legislator's proposal for life imprisonment or the death penalty if a first time offender causes death.
Tsai Pi-chung, Deputy Minister of Justice, said that for first-time offenders who did not cause injury, the recommended sentence can be increased from less than two years to less than three years in prison.
Tsai Pi-chung, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Justice: “We can raise the statutory penalty to less than 3 years for first-time offenders who did not cause injury, then there is a fine of NT$300,000. MOJ fully supports this multi-pronged approach.”
The Ministry of Justice emphasized that both first-time and repeat offenders will be subject to additional fines. Among them, repeat offenders can be fined up to NT$3 million. The repeat offense period has also been revised from the current 5 years to 10 years. Tsai said that the MOJ will enforce the law vigorously and severely punish drunk driving. It is not an empty threat.