Constitutional Court “Unconstitutional punishment for drunk driving more than two times under Yun Chang-ho Act”


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The main gate of the Constitutional Court. material photo.

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the provisions of the Road Traffic Act, which contain aggravating punishment for those caught driving under the influence of alcohol twice or more, are unconstitutional. This provision is part of the so-called ‘Yun Chang-ho Act’, which was amended in December 2018 to strengthen penalties for drunk driving. The Constitutional Court announced on the 25th that the Constitutional Court ruled that Article 148-2 (1) of the Road Traffic Act was unconstitutional by a 7-2 opinion of judges in the case of a constitutional complaint filed by Mr. Article 184-2 (1) of the Road Traffic Act stipulates that a person who violates the prohibition of drunk driving on two or more occasions shall be punished by imprisonment with labor for not less than two years and not more than five years, or by a fine of not less than 10 million won and not more than 20 million won. In September 2018, the Road Traffic Act was revised to strengthen penalties for drunk driving following the incident of Yoon Chang-ho, who was hit by a vehicle driven by a drunken driver in Haeundae-gu, Busan. The key point of the Yoon Chang-ho Act is to strengthen punishment for drunk driving, such as allowing a victim to be sentenced to life imprisonment or at least three years in prison, up from the existing one year in prison, if the victim dies as a result of drunk driving. The grounds for the Constitutional Court’s judgment that the provision is unconstitutional can be broadly divided into two. There is no time limit between past drunk driving and current drunk driving, and there is a possibility of uniformly aggravated punishment for recidivism drunk driving with a relatively light crime. The Constitutional Court said, “If the past violation occurred more than 10 years ago, the recidivism, which is subject to punishment, is judged to be an anti-normative act performed in a state where the law-abiding spirit is markedly lacking, or as an act that repeatedly threatens the life or body of members of society. hard to do It is difficult to see the need for aggravated punishment by distinguishing this from general violations of the drunk driving ban,” he said. The Constitutional Court continued, “Even if the (drunk driving restriction) has been violated twice or more, the quality of the crime cannot be uniformly evaluated, and there is a type of re-offending drunk driving act that has a relatively low risk to protective legal interests, such as past violation history.” It is difficult to recognize the proportionality between responsibility and punishment as the lower limit of the sentence is set at two years in prison and a fine of 10 million won, making it difficult to recognize the proportionality between responsibility and punishment, as it imposes excessively severe punishment even for relatively light offenses.” On the other hand, Judges Lee Seon-ae and Moon Hyung-bae had a dissenting opinion. These judges said, “The subject of the judgment clause is a regulation enacted in accordance with criminal policy considerations to severely punish and prevent recidivism drunk driving crimes in the wake of the so-called Chang-ho Yoon case. There is a reasonable reason for aggravated punishment of a recidivist drunk driver.” By Kang Jae-gu, staff reporter [email protected]

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