An odd impaired driving case popped up in Charlottetown, PEI provincial court recently. A man from Cornwall was stopped for drunk driving 18 years ago, and he’s only now appeared in court.
Although there was no explanation for the delay in court proceedings, the man pleaded guilty to failing the breathalyzer back in July 1998. That’s when he was pulled over in Milton, Ontario after a police officer noticed he was driving erratically.
The court was told that he submitted breathalyzer samples indicating he was driving above the legal limit of .08, and he was found guilty. He was fined $500, had to pay a $50 victim surcharge, and had his driver’s license suspended for one year.
The man in this case is lucky the judge appeared to have penalized him with 1998 standards, because the changes in PEI’s impaired driving laws are pretty drastic.
Back in 1998 over 70,000 people in Canada were charged with impaired driving, and PEI had seen a 19% decrease in impaired driving rates from the year before.
A first offender in Prince Edward Island who was convicted of impaired driving in 1998 would receive a one-year driver’s license suspension, they would pay a small fine, and he or she may have their vehicle impounded.
Compared to PEI in 2016, those penalties are a walk in the park. First offenders are now subject to the impaired driving penalties PEI brought in back in 2011. Those penalties include a 90 day driver’s license suspension followed by a one year driver’s license suspension and jail time of three days for every first offender. He or she would also have to pay stiff fines and would be required to install an ignition interlock device for a period of one year.
It’s strange to have an impaired driving case play out 18 years after the arrest, but whatever the reason behind it, this man should feel lucky he made the mistake of drinking and driving way back in the 90’s and avoided the penalties of today.