Korea’s DUI Law Explained by Defense Lawyers in Korea

As many people are already aware, driving under the influence is dangerous and can lead to serious legal consequences in Korea. Korea has one of the world’s most strict DUI Laws. In order, in part, to fight the stigma of Korea having one of the highest road fatality rates in the OECD, the present Korean DUI Law was enacted. The law is intended to warn drivers that they should not drive even if they have one drink. The, recently enacted DUI Law in Korea has decreased the number of drunk driving cases in Korea according to an article in the Korean Times that can be found at: Tightened Traffic Law Brings Down Number of DUI Cases.

Drunk driving is a major cause of accidents in South Korea. According to statistics, around 30% of all traffic accidents in Korea are caused by drunk drivers. With this in mind, Korea has enacted one of the strictest drunk-driving lawyers in the world.

Even one shot of soju, before getting behind the wheel, may lead to a violation of law, since Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05% is drunk driving in Korea. If you are on a visa, a conviction can even get you deported. We suggest, because of this reality for most foreigners to hire an attorney when they are arrested for a DUI in Korea.

Penalties for Drunk Driving/Driving under Influence in South Korea

The following may help you get a better grasp of the penalties for alcohol-related DUI in Korea and determine if you should hire a lawyer. There are three main repercussions for driving while intoxicated – civil, administrative, and criminal punishments. Typically, you shall receive a suspended or canceled driver’s license and have substantially increased insurance premiums, while having a chance for your visa to be canceled or not renewed.

Additionally, criminal punishment is likely and a significant matter that can lead to deportation for foreigners residing in Korea, hefty fines and imprisonment if the victim(s) were injured or died (the number of years or lifetime imprisonment would vary depending on the graveness of the injuries) or one is convicted of multiple DUIs.

DUI cases involving members of the foreign community are serious issues for all expats in Korea and the most important choice is often the engagement of an experienced English-speaking attorney. Make sure your attorney handles matters for foreign nationals and understands deeply the Immigration impact of pleading guilty to a charge. Hire the best attorney you can afford.

An interesting thing to note is that a few decades ago, drunk driving wasn’t a major issue in Korea. Many individuals and celebrities committed a DUI and didn’t take the matter seriously, but as years went by, public perception changed and, recently, the culture has been shaped by the rise in public awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence in Korea. Campaigns like “Drinking and driving is attempted murder,” have shaped the general population’s mindset, and the majority agrees with strict penalties in order to prevent incidents involving DUI.

For an explanation of IPG’s Defense Practice experience please see: IPG Legal’s Criminal Defense Team.

You can schedule a free initial consultation with a defense lawyer in Korea at Schedule a Call with a Defense Attorney in Korea.

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