Fines For DUI Offences, No Licence Suspension

April 26, 2013

After pleading guilty in Magistrates Court this morning [Apr 26], 41-year-old Joseh Rupcic was fined $1,500 for having care and control of a motorcycle whilst impaired, however was allowed to keep his licence.

Yesterday 48-year-old Paget resident Antonio Duke pleaded guilty to driving whilst impaired and was fined $1500 however was also allowed to keep his drivers licence.

Both cases were heard by Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo who earlier this week had pointed out Government’s “blunder” in not making it obligatory for a disqualification to be handed down as part of the penalty for driving whilst impaired.

On Wednesday Attorney General Mark Pettingill said he concurred with the Magistrate about the “blunder”, and explained that when the law was amended the actual phrasing left out the word “obligatory” as it pertains to driving suspensions as a penalty for drunk driving.

Mr Pettingill said that Parliament will bring forth an amendment to correct the error.

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Comments (24)

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  1. 80's Role Model says:

    FREE MONTY!!!

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  2. v!nce says:

    Ok. Now wait a second…
    So its not "obligatory" for an individual to loose their license for a year if found guilty of driving under the influence, but couldn't a judge use their discretion in handing out the punishment?

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    • Mad Dawg says:

      Not really. I see what you mean, but if he gives a ban 'as though it were mandatory', that wouldn't be legal, because it is not mandatory. He can only enforce the law as it is written.

      I think all these people should get bans, but legally he's right, and the best that can be done is to change the law and correct the mistake.

      In the meantime, personally I'd rather see judges enforce law as it is written, rather than something else.

      Of course, there are other cases, for example bladed weapons mandatory sentences, where there appear to be reasons why those mandatory sentences aren't always applied. I'd like to see that corrected as well.

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  3. Sorry Sir says:

    Just because you're not "obliged" to suspend the persons license doesn't mean you don't.

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    • Tolerate says:

      Exactly, this is not very clear to me. If the words are not in place saying there is a a mandatory time, why can the judge not use his power to state a time under the maximum allowed?
      How many times you have been to court and two individuals are stopped for the same speed and one gets more time than the other.
      Was this not done by the judge’s decision to hand out more time after being told for the second individual it is his second time in a stated time frame, as the other it’s his first offence?
      Let’s not make excuses.

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      • bullcrap says:

        Verdicts aren't consistent because the judges in Magistrates Court don't have a firm legislation to abide by. #FactsFromALawyer

        Bermuda's justice system is screwed!

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    • BendEm Like Beckam says:

      That is what I was thinking. having a license is a priveledge and not a right!

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  4. watcher says:

    This is just Tukombo acting the a#s! he's everything that is wrong with the judiciary on the island police do their job and lock the bad guys up judges go out of their way to give people slaps on the wrist time to get rid of him and Warner they're incapable of doing their jobs without involving their ego's

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  5. tricks are for kids.... says:

    Whether we like it or not the sentencings are metted out according to the LAW that is currently on the books...until it is amended....'It is what It is".........

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  6. Tolerate says:

    Maybe I’m not understanding the issue here, but is it STATED in the revised law that the judge is NOT allowed to add time off the road and a fine for DUI?
    Because I’m a bit confused; is this action in reply to suggestions of a particular favoritism to the first case that this judge dealt with, that he now feels he has to treat all the cases the same? Is not being a judge, allow you to work within guide lines to hand out sentences based on minimum and maximum sentences allowed (i.e. sentence carries a punishment not exceeding say 2yrs imprisonment and $5,000 as an example).
    Because if the revised law fails to allow time off the road being dealt to DUI cases, than why since October, offenders are now not being given time? Was there no cases of guilty pleas that came before him between October and April?
    And if this is the case, trial dates need to be extended until after the “blunder” has been rectified. Serious, if this was a murder case and there was some legal technicality, would we be turning away individuals who actually plead “GUILTY” with a fine.
    Damn, sort this and this judge out. He tends to have a history of this controversial decisions. Stop trying the damn cases until the law has been rectified!!!!!!

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  7. observer says:

    The judge cannot operate outside of the law!

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    • Tolerate says:

      Thanks Observer,
      This in part, was one of my questions. Can you clarify if by the new law the judge CANNOT give time off the road; and secondly, did he just find this out? I’m curious how many cases he has handled prior to this April yet SINCE the change October 2012? Has he sentenced individuals who plead “GUILTY” to time off the road since October 2012?
      He is a bit smug in stating there is a blunder with the law, but when did he figure it out? I have not seen evidence a lawyer saw the mistake and pointed it out during a case and he now has to go by this new finding.

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  8. kat says:

    How stupid can that judge be. He is going to start a lot of s** if one of those drunk a$$e$ go out and kill someone. I pray to God it won't be no one close to me. He should be held accountable!

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  9. No, Silly! says:

    @v!nce, @Sorry Sir: Don't you see that the magistrate is actually supporting the inclusion of "obligatory" in the legislation, and in fact trying to get it put back asap.

    He cannot directly change the law himself of course, and if he continued to hand out driving suspensions despite it not being obligatory, then (a) those suspensions could be challenged and overturned in a higher court and (b) nothing would get done about correcting the error, since politicians would argue the error "is having no impact" and some would probably even deny that an error existed.

    Only by letting off all these people with no suspension in such a high profile manner can he actually get the "obligatory" put back into legislation as quickly as possible. After all, he is not in a position to directly tell politicians what they must do, it is the other way round (i.e., by way of their enactment of legislation).

    Note that the magistrate is expressly commenting that there exists an error in the law when he passes sentence, so he is clearly trying to get the issue pushed to the top of the agenda.

    He is using a good strategy to get the law corrected as quickly as possible (and not in the usual 'Bermuda time'), albeit at the cost of having a few drunk drivers allowed to remain on the roads. The point being that, in the long run he is ensuring that ALL drunk drivers are kept off our roads.

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    • oh....... yeah says:

      finally someone on this thread is thinking

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    • v!nce says:

      I certainly understand the point that you are making.
      I just personally feel that there may have been another way for him to express his point.

      In regards to people challenging this non obligatory suspended sentence. I would love to see how many individuals that were not aware of this situation, and had their licenses suspended, would have challenged the ruling in a higher court.

      In fact, let's open this can of worms right up. Why don't individuals who have had their licenses suspended since October 2012 challenge the ruling and see what comes out of it. I am not very familiar with exactly how legal proceeding work, but would this not simply be an appeals process? You can appeal any ruling in court for the most part can't you? But just because you appeal, does not mean that the ruling will be overturned simply because the suspended license was not "obligatory". Didn't the punishment fit the crime?

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  10. Wtf says:

    TGIF getting hot tonight lol

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  11. Orlando says:

    Richard Spencer You are a national hero.....

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  12. CommonSense says:

    I can't help but think this is a poor way for the Magistrate to make a point, however if it does work and the law is changed than more the power to him.

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  13. Rock Watcher says:

    What they should have done was to get someone who knew what was required to write the law!
    So far they have messed up seat belts (including child seats) and cell phones! now we find they also screwed
    up this legislation!
    Way to go BDA!

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  14. Z says:

    Those are slaps on the wrists

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  15. PROMOTER says:

    bulls$%t
    sounds like white names

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  16. PROMOTER says:

    judge should be fired asap

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  17. Drewgle says:

    Get caught listening to music while riding your bike - $500 fine

    Get caught drinking and driving - $1500 fine

    Seems reasonable.

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