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Drunk drivers get shorter sentences: study

TT/The Local/cg · 12 Nov 2011, 09:44

Published: 12 Nov 2011 09:44 GMT+01:00

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Researchers have investigated court rulings from 1990 to 2005 involving involuntary manslaughter, wrongful injury, or causing danger to others.

The reason for drunk drivers' milder punishments is not clear, according to the scientists behind the study.

"But maybe when you've been driving under the influence and get into trouble, you get yourself a better lawyer," said scientist Mohammad-Reza Yahya to newspaper Östgöta Correspondenten.

Drunk drivers are sentenced to prison far more often than sober drivers, but when it comes to severe crimes, the sober drivers often receive longer prison sentences.

The study also shows that more sober than drunk drivers are sentenced to prison if they show gross negligence and kill someone in traffic.

Hitting a person and killing them while sober, and showing 'gross negligence' results in one year and three months in prison, according to the study. The same crime for a drunk driver results in about a month less in prison.

"You'd expect a drunk driver to be punished harder. I think those responsible should rethink this," said Mohammad-Reza Yahya.

The sentences reviewed were of offenders between 18 and 64 years old.

Story continues below…

1,995 sentences were reviewed in the study, which showed that of the people sentenced for having killed or hurt someone in traffic, one in five was under the influence of alcohol.

TT/The Local/cg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:14 November 12, 2011 by Tennin
Doesn't surprise me. Being drunk is a valid excuse in Sweden to do a lot of bad crimes.
11:26 November 12, 2011 by ppaf
Actually it's not an excuse but it works as an attenuating factor. And that is not just in Sweden but in most Western nations.

The reason is simply that when you are under the effect of alcohol, or any other drug, you don't have the same amount of control over your actions. There are plenty of good reasons why such laws exist and the fundamental principles have nothing to do with Sweden itself but rather international and long lasting discussions.
12:21 November 12, 2011 by Swedishmyth
But that's a reason to INCREASE punishment based on negligence and reckless endangerment. By willfully suspending their capacity to reason (e.g. getting drunk and then driving) they are putting others at an increase risk of injury or death.
13:44 November 12, 2011 by Keith #5083
I thinksh thish ish abooosuuulute rubbitch, occifer.We shud nut hvs to goo to kjale at alls, we shud havs sosiale payments and rubarb/ruhab/rehab to help oss.
16:00 November 12, 2011 by ccb

In the US and UK drunk driving is a serious offense that in many US states will certainly land you in prison for 2 years or more and in the UK for 3 years and upward. If there are no aggravating circumstances, i.e. you are sober and it was a pure accident you are looking at an 18 month sentence or less. Unless you were chained down and force fed alcohol and then forced to drive away to save your own life then I would understand driving under the influence. Otherwise I believe you should be penalised much more than a sober person unless of course it is first degree vehicular homicide (on the sober person's part). So I agree with Swedishmyth. I also agree with Tennin people here tend to condone drinking and becoming stupidly drunk and see it as an excuse for all sorts of silly behaviour.
16:20 November 12, 2011 by Svensksmith
I don't drive drunk anymore. It interferes with my texting.
09:12 November 13, 2011 by calebian22
Getting drunk is a choice that starts in a state of sobriety. Any negligence or crimes after making this choice, should be viewed in this light. The Swedish justice system has it wrong, big surprise.
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