Finally, somebody has woken up in Brazil's Federal Supreme Court.

At long last there seem to be some faint signs of life in the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal - STF). The Ministers of the STF have finally come to there senses and determined that driving while under the influence of alcohol, even in cases that do not result in accident, injury or death, is a crime and may result in jail sentences ranging from 6 months to 3 years. Job well done guys!

Now all that remains undone is for the STF to follow the lead of other rationally thinking countries and decide that refusal to take either a breathalyzer or blood test when demanded by a police officer is also an offense, or at least that courts may make a NEGATIVE inference at trial for such refusals. The loophole in both transit and penal legislation in Brazil caused by a gross misinterpretation of the Constitutional Amendment protection from self-incrimination is big enough to drive a semi-truck through. Despite similar protection from self-incrimination granted by both the USA's 5th Amendment and Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, wisdom has prevailed in those countries and they have defined self-incrimination only as it refers to actually giving evidence at trial. In fact, in Canada it has long been held that the courts may draw a negative inference regarding refusal to take a breath or blood test during the trial process. It is essentially treated as entering a guilty plea. Like the Brazilian say... "quem não deve não teme". Now it's time for the Supreme Court to wake up completely and take similar action.

A rousing round of applause for the Ministers of the STF! If nothing else this decision opens the door for INSS to bring civil actions agains drunk and reckless drivers in order to recover the astronomically high amount they pay out each year in pensions for injuries and death caused by these idiots who still insist on drinking and driving, engaging in road races with other motorists, etc. thus making their insurance companies responsible for picking up the tab and not just passing it off to the taxpayer.

It is also nice to see that one of the Ministers had the common sense to equate drunk driving with the same kind of criminal conduct as illegaly carrying a firearm. Duhhhh - I thought that everybody knew that an automobile was equally a lethal weapon in the hands of a drunk driver.