FORMER Slovak National Party (SNS) chairman Ján Slota is facing charges for drunk-driving.
After a fast-tracked investigation wrapped up on June 11, 2013, the police submitted Slota’s file to the prosecutor with a proposal to file a criminal complaint against him, the Nový Čas daily reported, quoting Žilina regional police spokesperson Radko Moravčík.
The police detained Slota on May 9, in Čadca, after he refused to stop and attempted to flee traffic officers. After refusing to submit to a breathalyser test or provide a blood sample, he was automatically deemed to have a blood-alcohol level above 1 part per thousand (and thus liable for criminal prosecution), and placed in custody, the Sme daily reported.
“[Slota] displayed evident indications of drunkenness,” a police officer who preferred to remain anonymous told Sme after Slota was detained.
However, for reasons that remain unclear, Slota was released only a few hours after his arrest, and as a result, avoided the super-fast-tracked proceeding typically used in such cases, Sme reported on its website on May 10.
According to the Slovak Criminal Code, the proceeding can be used if the police catch a suspect while engaged in a criminal act and the potential punishment does not exceed five years in prison.
The process usually lasts 48 hours from the time the police start investigating to the time charges are laid. Officers can subsequently organise a hearing and secure evidence necessary for the prosecutor to pursue a criminal case.
If Slota is found guilty, he faces a stricter punishment that was introduced by the government of Iveta Radičová, which, for example, made driving with a blood-alcohol level higher than 1 part per thousand a crime, with a punishment of up to one year in prison.
In addition, those who refuse to be tested for the presence of alcohol or other addictive substances are automatically considered to have committed a crime (i.e. have a blood-alcohol level above 1 part per thousand). Except for a fine, courts can also ban convicted people from driving for up to 10 years.
Slota, whose behaviour while intoxicated has been widely reported in the past, was until recently a prominent politician.
He chaired the SNS when the party was a member of the first government of Robert Fico in 2006-2010, and served that term as an MP. He was stripped of his party membership on April 24 due to alleged misuse of party property.
17. Jun 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff