|Actress Chae Min-seo was found guilty of DUI for a fourth time and sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for two years. Screen captured from Facebook|
Actress Chae Min-seo is under fire again for driving under the influence after a Seoul Central District Court sentenced her to eight months' jail, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to take a 40-hour mandatory program for Traffic Law offenders and do 120 hours of community service.
The court said she had received the relatively light punishment because she was repentant, the damage she inflicted was relatively minor and the alcohol content was not very high.
It was the fourth time she has been nabbed for driving under the influence.
Chae, 38, crashed into a car around 6 a.m. in Gangnam on March 26 while driving the wrong way on a one-way street, injuring the driver. Her blood-alcohol level was 0.063 percent ― high enough for her license to be revoked.
Criticism of the light sentence was further fueled, when it was revealed she had been fined for drunk driving three times previously, including in March 2012 and December 2015.
Although lower legal limits for DUI came into force this June, Chae's offense happened before the revised law became effective.
According to the court's ruling, her blood alcohol level was not considered "very high" under the previous traffic law. The prosecutors' office has filed an appeal demanding a tougher sentence.
Amid the public criticism, the actress uploaded an apology online, explaining that she had slept for about eight hours after drinking the night before the accident.
"I deeply regret getting behind the wheel, thinking I'm sober by the time between 4 a.m. to 5 a.m.," she wrote.
Chae also explained that she did not realize that she was on a one-way street; when she realized this and tried to park on the side, she bumped another car, but not hard.
"The reason I'm writing this is to apologize to anyone who was affected by my misconduct, but also to tell the truth because the news reports exaggerated some facts of the incident," she wrote.
Despite her apology, people pointed out that she was making excuses. She then removed the statement along with all other posts.
Chae debuted in 2002 with a lead role in the film drama "Champion." Since then, she has featured in several movies and TV series, including "Vegetarian" (2009).