The Sochi Olympics DUI Laws
The Sochi Winter Olympics will begin on Friday, February 7. Preparations read like a Russian novel where delays, shortages, and uncertainty prevail. One event could be a race to see if Sochi can finish the Olympic complex before the February 23 closing ceremony.
In addition to the costs and efforts to create an infrastructure for this international event, Russia has also spent a great deal of effort to beef up security and safety. However, if the condition of the hotels, restaurants, and other Olympic buildings are any indication, security might become a nightmare or at worst, a catastrophe of epic proportions.
Russia loves to drink. Consequently, drunk driving is a serious problem. Current laws declare that any amount of alcohol above 0.0 BAC is not sober. To prepare for the Olympics, Russia is set to pass additional laws that will carry huge fines and prison time for DUI offenses. Second offenses are particularly brutal.
Perhaps to frighten people from getting behind the wheel while drunk, the new laws provide that killing multiple people in a traffic accident while intoxicated, (anything above 0.0 BAC) could lead to life in prison.
What does that mean for you?
Even though Russia’s laws are designed to deter DUI in its own people, tourists and Olympic guests shouldn’t suppose that they will be immune to the law. That means that if you rent a car in Russia, it would be best to abstain from alcohol altogether.
It isn’t that the Russian laws aren’t exactly what some people in this country want our laws to be, (they actually look like they were pulled right off the MADD website) it’s just the enforcement of the laws in Russia don’t carry the same protections we have here.
In the United States, constitutional rights that guarantee due process and protect from illegal search and seizure can insulate us from unscrupulous law enforcement officials. Here, a DUI attorney can make sure that the police made a legal stop, followed the law, and respected your rights.
What would it be like if you were pulled over for possible DUI in Russia? Is that gulp of champagne going to make you DUI? Is there a due process or any other protection against wrongful prosecution? How frightened would you be if your arrest were tantamount to a conviction? How would it feel to be guilty unless proven innocent?
Are we any different?
The above scenario seems frightening. But as scary as the Russian example is, it is perhaps even more unnerving to listen to Americans scoff at due process and protected rights during a DUI stop. They actually think you are guilty unless proven innocent. They see DUI attorneys that demand their clients deserve a legal traffic stop and constitutional rights as unscrupulous obstacles to ridding our roads of drunk drivers.
Not to be overly snarky, but anyone that has that attitude might be happier to stay in Sochi after the Olympics and enjoy a society that doesn’t have to put up with such roadblocks to “justice.”