Friday, December 21, 2012

Transportation Horrors

It's the time for year end festivities and office parties. Much as you would like to avoid it, a sip of alcoholic beverage is quite inevitable. Just be extra careful if you are one of those who can still afford the near $100K COE and are in charge of an expensive set of wheels.

Au was found sleeping off a few drinks in his stationary car parked at Fourth Avenue in the wee hours of Dec 18, 2009. A friend had driven his vehicle there, one of two witnesses who had given police statements attesting to the fact he did not drive the vehicle on that particular occasion. Still, Au was jailed for two weeks, fined $4,000 and banned from driving. Judge of Appeal V K Rajah ended the nightmare by ruling that catching forty winks at the wheel of a stationary vehicle while over the alcohol limit does not constitute an offence. But prosecutors at the Attorney General's Chambers are "studying the High Court decision" and "considering the next course of action". Why are the prosecutors so determined in persecuting? Gleaning available information on the Internet, it seems they still have a few cards to play.

What is the Drink Drive Offence in question?
It is an offence for a person to be in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with excess alcohol in his breath or in blood or urine as evidenced by a certificate of analysis or statement.

What is the legal definition of being in charge?
There is no legal definition for the term "in charge". Generally, a Defendant is "in charge" if he was the owner or in possession of the vehicle or had recently driven it. He is not in charge if it is being driven by another person or is "a great distance" from the vehicle.

What happens if a person is sitting in the vehicle or "otherwise involved with it"?
In charge can include attempting to gain entry to the vehicle and failing, having keys to the vehicle, having intention to take control of the vehicle or even "being near the vehicle".

What if I was in my car listening to music and had no intention of driving?
There is no need for the prosecution to prove that a person was likely to drive whilst unfit or over the limit. It is for the Defendant to prove that there is no prospect of using the vehicle.

What if I fell asleep in the car or I was sitting in the back?
It depends on the circumstances leading up to it. If somebody else had driven the vehicle, and has merely got out and left you in it, and you were not aware of this, you are not in charge. If, however, you had, by your own means got into the car you would have been in charge and remain in charge.

Can I be prosecuted if I am sitting in the passenger seat?
Yes. If the police believe that you were driving at some point, but when they stopped the vehicle, you were no longer driving, it is still possible to prosecute or if the police are able to show that there was a likelihood of you driving the vehicle. You do not have to be sitting in the driver's seat to be "in charge".

In 2002, NSman Chong was charged with "being in possession of a car while under the influence of alcohol" for drinking a beer in his father's parked car, and dozed off. Chan Sek Cheong ruled that the conviction was a weak antecedent to justify a jail term for a second case of DUI in 2009, adding that if Chong's story raised "a question of reasonable doubt, then he ought to be entitled to that doubt".

Surely these horror stories should be enough to persuade you to give up the car (that plus the rip-off COE) and start taking the trains. Except that alternative mode of transport keeps breaking down, derailing the travel plans of at least 26,000 on the North East Line yesterday.


  1. Crazy Singaporean12/21/2012 10:43 AM

    We are living in Disneyland. Its hard to differentiate facts from fantasy nowadays.

  2. Could it be because of this:

    "What if I was in my car listening to music and had no intention of driving?
    There is no need for the prosecution to prove that a person was likely to drive whilst unfit or over the limit. It is for the Defendant to prove that there is no prospect of using the vehicle."

    Notice the onus is on the defendant proving innocence. If V K Rajah's ruling is not overturned then others can use this as a precedent to get the prosecution to prove their case. In Singapore you are guilty until proven innocent, right?

  3. Our court rulings baffles me. You may be jailed for sleeping drunk in your car but let off with a fine for running down an old couple (1 dead) after gambling for 15 hrs straight without sleep. Where is the logic.

    1. Yes, maybe the latter had paid gambling taxes and contributed to the economy.

  4. Dont understand the usage of the Language as used.

    Incharge of car or for the Matter, any inanimate objects? Why cnt it be in control instead of incharge?

  5. Could it be a ploy to discourage people from owning cars since we are not perturbed by high COEs

  6. Where did these prosecutors go to school?

    1. From the same faculty of law where the sex-for-grades Professor Tey teaches.

  7. To forgot dear sir...many went to good law schools..

    But upon being "recruited" or give a "chance" to be recruited into the inner PAP "circle"...they underwent the LEEwashing of their brains and what's left of their piksqueak dicks...

    So what we have now are leegally conditioned and well train leeyers of the law.

    Where is the justice and the righting of wrongs...nonce we can see hear or touch.


    1. Leepublic of Singapore's Leegal system.

  8. Hi Merry X'mas and A Happy New Year !

    A gentle reminder.

    If you drink, don't drive. If you drive, don't drink! All those hungry hyenas and vultures are waiting for you all over the roads. Don't let them haul you to court for drink driving. They will ruin your new year. They got no mercy and compassion at all. There are cases where you "drink sleeping inside the car and not driving" yet they will go all out to destroy you as if you are criminal, a rapist or a murderer! That's the reality here! Why offer yourselves as sacrificial lambs by exposing yourselves? Take a cab if you have no faith in the rail.

  9. You can woffle or waffle your way out. Just get an octogenarian or nonagenarian to take the drive/dive for you. Precedents have been set, learn from them. Happy Holidays.

    1. Now that is a new and very appropriate word use! " to Woffle out of a situation" .

      I love it, man.

  10. What about that romania embassy guy who was having sex/fellatio while driving? what kind of sentence was he given? do be reminded that pussy action party has no balls.

  11. For killing any person while driving, how come sometimes the driver is sent to jail while some are let go with a fine even though the driver is clearly negligent ?

    Is the deciding factor criteria based whether one is a PAP member or what ?

  12. Since gov is paying one billion to a private company SMRT, gov should make every tax resident a shareholder of that company because we all contributed to that one billion and any past billions not disclosed previously.