It can’t be easy being presented with drunk driving case after case every day, but in most situations judges in Canada manage to properly penalize drunk drivers with license suspensions, fines, and in some provinces, the possibility of an ignition interlock.
Some situations presented to judges are more severe than others, and occasionally one drunk driving case will slip through the cracks or cause controversy when it comes to sentencing. That’s what happened in Nova Scotia recently when a judge declined a sentence recommendation he labeled a ‘farce.’
A repeat offender appeared before the judge and pleaded guilty to impaired driving. He was previously convicted of refusing the breathalyzer back in 2009, and that meant his second drunk driving case should have required a harsher punishment.
Instead, the Crown and Defense both recommended the man only serve two years probation and one day in prison, which was already considered served because of his day in court. That’s light considering that this is essentially a second offense in Nova Scotia.
Normally if someone offends twice in a two year period in Nova Scotia, that person receives thirty days in jail. This man offended twice in six years, so both the Crown and the Defense thought that probation was enough.
Is one year leeway enough to overlook a previous drunk driving case? Not according to this judge. He rejected their joint submission outright and said that if he had accepted it, the defendant would have been able to walk out of the court room laughing.
This judge knows that if you don’t properly penalize a drunk driving offender, they could be that much more tempted to just drink and drive again. In tough cases, other judges should look to him for an example of how to deal with a drunk driver when everyone else seems willing to give him a pass.