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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Intoxicated Driving: Criminal and Civil Consequences

Q: What is the law or consequences as [it] pertains to someone driving under the influence of alcohol and [the] passenger dies... what happens to the diver possibly? – by Shoma

70. (1) Any person who, when driving or attempting to drive or when in charge of a motor vehicle on a road, is under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle, is liable on first conviction to a fine of eight thousand dollars and to imprisonment for three years and on any subsequent conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years.

(2) A person convicted of—
(a) two consecutive offences under this section shall, unless the Court for special reasons thinks fit to order otherwise and without prejudice to the power of the Court to order a longer period of disqualification, be disqualified for a period of three years from the date of the conviction from holding or obtaining a driving permit; and
(b) a third conviction for a like offence, shall be permanently disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving permit.

Civil: As a driver, a duty of care is owed to both passengers and pedestrians. As a result, the driver will be held liable for any injuries or death as a result of his drunken driving. However, the driver can rely on the defence of Contributory Negligence to reduce the amount of damages according to the Trinidad & Tobago case: Gunness v Ramdeo (2001)

Also, according to the Limitation of Certain Actions Act 1997, asamended, the injured person or the family of the deceased, must bring a claim within 4 years...
·         5(2)(a) from the date of tort
·         5(2)(b) from the date the injury was noticed
·         5(3)(a) from the date of death