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Russia: Stricter Punishment for Drunk Driving

(Nov. 24, 2008) On November 14, 2008, the State Duma (legislature) of Russia adopted amendments to the nation's Criminal Code that prescribe heavier punishments for driving while intoxicated or under the influence of narcotic or alcoholic substances. Article 264 sets forth penalties for violations of the Rules on Road Traffic and Operation of Means of Transport that harm the health or cause the death of a person. However, previously the provision did not distinguish between commission of the crime by a sober or a drunk driver. The newly adopted amendment introduces the obligatory sanction for this crime as imprisonment for up to three years and a prohibition against driving for another three years if it was committed by a person under the influence of alcohol. If the death of one person is caused as a result of a drunk driving accident, the sentence meted out is increased to seven years of imprisonment; if it results in the death of two or more people, the term of imprisonment will be nine years.