The country of Belarus introduced a strict new law at the end of October that allows the court to confiscate and sell the vehicle of a DUI offender who has been detained twice in the same year for drunk driving. The offender will also face a license suspension for three years, one and a half years of community service, $1,400 in fines and fees, and retention of 20 percent of their monthly income. If a person is killed as a result of the DUI, the defendant faces 10 years behind bars.
Be careful, visitors of Belarus. The law applies also to foreign nationals.
According to Stanislav Solovey, senior inspector of the Interior Ministry of Belarus, 117 people have been arrested on drunk driving charges since the new law took effect. The first of those arrested to face punishment under the new law was a 28-year-old man. It was the man’s second DUI offense in two months and the vehicle he was driving at the time is set to be auctioned off. A special commission will set the price of the vehicle and, once sold, the proceeds will go to victims of traffic accidents.
What’s more, the law is causing people in Belarus to think twice about lending their vehicles out to friends and family. The vehicle confiscated did not belong to the drunk driver. That didn’t matter to the court as it proceeded with the confiscation and sale of the vehicle. “The ownership of the vehicle is of no legal relevance,” it said.
Nearby, Russian lawmakers have introduced a similar bill that would also allow the confiscation and subsequent sale of the repeat DUI offender’s vehicle. The bill, however, will be taking a slightly more equitable approach by requiring that the vehicle be owned by offender before it is confiscated and sold.
Let’s hope California DUI laws don’t follow suit.