A court in Belarus has confiscated the car of a repeated drunk driver and ordered the person to 1.5 years of community service following the introduction of a new law. The car is now set to be sold. Russia is considering similar legislation.
A 28-year-old man became the first offender to experience the strict new laws aimed at combating drunk driving in Belarus. It was his second drunk driving offense in two months. While the car did not belong to the man, the court said that in this case “the ownership of the vehicle is of no legal relevance.”
A special commission will set the price for the car, which will then be sold, Interfax-Belarus reported. According to the law, if the offender wishes to keep the car, he or she must re-purchase it. The money from the sales of confiscated vehicles is expected to serve as compensation for victims of traffic accidents.
At the end of October, Belarus introduced a new law under which a drunk driver’s vehicle will be confiscated and sold if he or she is detained at least twice during one year. The driver will have his or her driver’s license suspended for three years, face a fine of almost US$1,400, be ordered to 1.5 years of community service, and face monthly earnings retention of 20 percent. Offenders involved in accidents that cause human death will face up to 10 years behind bars.
These rules will also be applied to foreign nationals.
Since the law came into effect, police have detained 117 offenders who may face the same charges, said Stanislav Solovey, senior inspector of the Interior Ministry of Belarus, according to Russia’s Channel One TV.
The new law sent the Belorussian blogosphere into a frenzy, with many questioning its effectiveness.
“Will it work? Generally speaking it will not, like any law based only on deterrence…” said user ‘buburu’ on Belarusian online Q&A service qq.by.
Meanwhile on Friday, a Russian lawmaker from Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party introduced a bill under which repeated drunk driving will be punished by the confiscation and sale of an offender’s vehicle. The driver’s license will be suspended for three years, but the car will be confiscated only if it is owned by the offender.