Man who twice refused breathalyzer fined NT$360,000

A suspected drunk driver who refused to take field sobriety tests after being stopped by the police on two consecutive days has been slapped with a NT$360,000 (US$11,985) fine, the Taipei City government said Sunday.

The 30-year-old man, surnamed Cheng (?), was recently pulled over for driving his truck on the wrong side of the road near the intersection of Civic Boulevard and Zhongnan Street in the city's Nangang District, Nangang Police Station chief Lin Cheng-wei (???) said at a press conference Sunday.

The officers who stopped Cheng noticed a strong smell of alcohol inside his vehicle, but the driver denied he had been drinking when asked, Lin said.

While Cheng later changed his story and said he had just finished eating ginger duck hot pot, which contains rice wine, he refused to comply with a request from officers that he take a breathalyzer, Lin said.

After entering Cheng's info into a police database, the officers discovered that he had been stopped in New Taipei's Xinzhuang District on his motorcycle one day earlier and had also refused to take a breathalyzer, according to Lin.

Based on these two refusals, the department issued Cheng a fine of NT$360,000 under the Road Traffic Management and Safety Act and impounded his vehicle on the spot, Lin said.

According to Article 35 of the law, drivers who refuse to comply with sobriety tests can be fined NT$180,000, have their car or motorcycle impounded, and have their driver's license revoked.

For those who refuse twice within a 10-year period, the penalty is increased to NT$360,000.

Meanwhile, under legal amendments that took effect earlier this year, drunk drivers in Taiwan can face up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of NT$300,000.

At the press conference, Lin urged people not to let those around them drive under the influence of alcohol, and to make use of a designated driver service to get home safely.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel