Chinese courts sentence drunk drivers to jail

08:19, May 10, 2011      

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Courts across China on Monday sentenced to jail at least nine drunken drivers who were the first to be caught after the country's newly-amended Criminal Law penalizing drunk driving took effect on May 1.

In Beijing, Guo Shudong was given four months of detention and a fine of 2,000 yuan (308 U.S. dollars) after being caught drunk driving on May 2 in Beijing's suburban Fangshan district.

Guo admitted being guilty and the trial closed 45 minutes after it started, officials with the People's Court of Fangshan said.

In the city of Binzhou in central China's Hunan Province, a local court sentenced three drunk drivers to jail terms ranging from one month to three months, while in Sichuan Province's city of Zigong, four people convicted of drunk driving were sentenced to two to four months in detention, court officials said.

In recent years, fatal car accidents in Chinese cities such as Chengdu, Nanjing and Hangzhou have triggered heated public outcry, with many people calling for stricter penalties for drunk driving.

One notable change to the amended Criminal Law is that punishments are now more harsh than ever before.

The amended Criminal Law stipulates that all drunk driving incidents are considered to be criminal offenses, even if the act of drunk driving itself doesn't result in a traffic accident.

The law now states that drunk drivers will have their driver's licenses revoked upon conviction. Drivers found guilty of drunk driving charges will have to wait five years to apply for new licenses, according to the law.

The amendment also says that drunk drivers may have their licenses permanently revoked if they cause a serious accident.

According to the current law, drivers who have at least 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in their body are considered drunk.

The earlier version of the law imposed a license suspension of just three to six months for drunk drivers.

Source: Xinhua
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