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Judges Could Start Giving Drunks a Harsher Sentence

Judges across Russia will soon consider drunkenness an aggravating circumstance when determining a sentence for a given crime, first deputy chairman of the State Duma committee on legislation Viktor Pinsky said.

During the Soviet Union, crimes were judged more harshly if they were committed under the influence of alcohol, but the practice was discontinued in 1997 with the introduction of a new federal Criminal Code.

Making drunks more criminally liable has gained urgency as the number of crimes committed under the influence is on the rise, the deputy said, Interfax reported Thursday.

The bill was proposed by groups across many branches of government, including the administration, the Supreme Court, the Federal Security Service, the police, and drug enforcement, Pinsky said.

The amendment already passed its first two readings in the State Duma, and the deputy is confident that it will pass into law in its third reading.

Unlike in the Soviet Union, judges will now be called on to apply the amendment on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the nature of the crime, the danger that it posed to society, and the character of the defendant, Pinsky said.

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