Page last updated:February 17, 2014

China - Court ruling toughens up drunk driving laws

China’s top judicial departments have published a document, voicing their intention to hand down heavier criminal punishments to drunk driving that involves serious violation of the law, including hit and run or speeding. The guidelines, jointly published by the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, mostly dealt with standards of establishing drunk driving, as well as conviction and sentencing.

A blood alcohol content over 80 mg/100 ml will be used as the standard for drunk driving. If suspects flee before taking the blood test, they can be convicted based on breath tests result. Drinking between driving and being tested would be seen asan attempt to deceive authorities.

Eight drunk driving conditions are identified that would trigger heavier punishment, including causing traffic accidents, fleeing after causing an accident, and having a blood alcohol content greater than 200 mg/100 ml. The guidelines also stated that suspectsshouldn’t be jailed unless it is shown that bail or house arrest are not enough to prevent them from putting others in danger.

Since the newly amended Criminal Law made all drunk driving a criminal offense from May 2011, it is thought that coerced social drinking has reduced. According to the Supreme People’s Court, the country has successfully prosecuted 871,000 drunk driving cases since the new law was implemented, a 40% year-on-year decline.


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