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Court rules aggravated punishment for repeat DUI offenses unconstitutional

National 16:10 May 26, 2022

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) -- The Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that a law calling for aggravated punishment against repeated offenses of drunk driving or refusing field sobriety testing is unconstitutional.

The nine-justice panel made the ruling in a 7-2 vote to a clause of the country's revised Road Traffic Act, dubbed the Yoon Chang-ho act, named after a victim of a high-profile DUI case. A vote of two-thirds is required to reverse a ruling.

The controversial law, revised in 2020, has lost its validity following the ruling.

The clause states that those committing DUIs or refusing to take a breathalyzer test for a combined two or more times, or those refusing the test two or more times should be put behind bars between two and five years or face a fine of between 10 million won and 20 million won (US$7,896-US$15,792).

The court ruled that aggravated punishment for multiple violations is excessive, saying it is too much to label a repeat drunk driving offender when the interval between the two offenses is considerably long.

Last year, the Constitutional Court made a similar ruling and delivered a non-constitutional decision against another clause of the Road Traffic Act.

Court rules aggravated punishment for repeat DUI offenses unconstitutional - 1


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