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Repeat DUI offenders across Taiwan denied commuted sentences, sent to jail

Commutation not automatic but at discretion of prosecutor as provided by Taiwan’s Code of Criminal Procedure

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Repeat DUI offenders across Taiwan denied commuted sentences, sent to jail

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Several prosecutors’ offices across Taiwan have recently denied repeated DUI offenders’ petitions for commutation of imprisonment to fines and sent them to jail, aiming to crack down on drunk driving.

The Shilin District Prosecutors Office said in a press release on Tuesday (Jan, 11) that beginning on that day, the office will strictly screen applications for commutation of sentences to fines filed by repeated drunk drivers who had been sentenced to less than six months in prison.

According to Article 41 of Taiwan’s Criminal Code, if the offender is sentenced to jail for no more than six months for a crime that carries a maximum punishment of not more than five years’ imprisonment, the punishment may be commuted to a fine at a daily rate of NT$1,000 to NT$3,000.

However, this provision does not apply to cases where commutation is “manifestly of little corrective effect, or the legal order cannot be maintained.”

Even though most such sentences are commuted, commutation is not automatic but at the discretion of the prosecutor as provided by Taiwan’s Code of Criminal Procedure.

In light of the severity of recent DUI offenses, including one that had caused heavy causalities and a broken family in southern Taiwan, the office said it had denied four repeated DUI offenders' petitions to commutate their sentences to fines for their third or fourth offenses within five years and for the severity of their violations.

Several other prosecutors’ offices across Taiwan have recently done the same.

The Hsinchu Prosecutors Office had denied the petitions of commutation by two offenders who were sentenced to no more than six months in prison for repeated DUI violations and sent them to jail on Jan. 2.

The New Taipei and Penghu district prosecutors' offices each denied two serial drunk drivers' commutation requests on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, so these four are going to serve their sentences as well.