What’s the difference between one person charged with drunk driving and another? Usually the only way you can tell them apart is by the excuse they give for driving drunk. Police have heard them all, but one man in Prince Edward Island may just win the unofficial excuse contest for fall 2017.
Vernon Docherty was driving through a police check stop in October of 2017. When asked to provide a breathalyzer sample he blew over the legal limit of .08, and he was subsequently charged with drunk driving. He recently appeared before the judge in Charlottetown, P.E.I. for that charge, and was asked to give a statement before his sentencing.
That’s when he decided to share his drunk driving excuse: “It was a free beer that got me there,” he said to the judge. To that the judge replied that it turned out to be a really expensive beer, and that it wasn’t it wasn’t free at all. He’s right: because of the fines, fees, and penalties you’ll receive when you’re charged with drunk driving in P.E.I., an impaired driving charge can turn out to be pretty pricey.
This was his first conviction, and the judge sentenced him to one day in jail, $1,000 in fines, and he’s required to pay a victim surcharge of $300. The victim surcharge is payable to a fund established for victims of a crime like impaired driving, with the intent of paying for services like counseling.
In addition to those fines and fees, that free beer will also cost him his driver’s license for one year, and according to P.E.I. ignition interlock law, he’ll have to enroll in the interlock program for one year. An ignition interlock—a device a convicted drunk driver must blow into to prove he or she hasn’t been drinking, will disable a vehicle if alcohol is detected. There’s a monthly fee associated with having an interlock too.
All in all, this offender will end up paying thousands of dollars over the course of a year, all because he was charged with drunk driving. That’s quite a steep price to pay for “free beer,” isn’t it?