A new tool local police officers are using to check motor vehicles shared the spotlight with a drinking and driving case in Greater Sudbury.

Joseph Duquette, 24, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice to having more than the legal allowable level of alcohol in his blood while driving and marijuana possession.

He was arrested Sept. 13, thanks to the use of an automatic licence plate recognition system installed in an Ontario Provincial Police cruiser.

"I'd just like to apologize," Duquette told the court.

Duquette was fined $400 on the marijuana possession charge and given a 30-day weekend jail sentence, and an 18-month licence suspension on the blowing over charge.

The court heard an OPP officer on patrol on Highway 17 West near Lively that day used the automatic recognition system on the licence plate of a vehicle driving ahead and the licence plate came back to Duquette. The machine told officers he was a suspended driver.

The driver was stopped and the officer noticed a strong odour of alcohol inside the vehicle. Duquette, who was driving, was accompanied by three male passengers, and said he had not been drinking and was acting as the designated driver.

When Duquette got out of the vehicle, he showed signs of being drunk. He then failed a Roadside breath tests and later produced Intoxilyzer readings of 135 and 122, both over the legal limit of 80 while driving.

A check of the vehicle turned up a whiskey bottle with three inches of liquid still inside under the driver's seat, a bong with residue on the passenger side floor, two small, clear plastic bags containing what appeared to be marijuana, a grinder and a pipe. The substance in the two bags turned out to be 4.6 grams of marijuana.

Duquette had a prior criminal record.

"So, if he was the designated driver, the other fellows must have been really bombed?" asked Judge Normand Glaude.

Defence lawyer John Recoskie said Duquette, who is single, is a full-time student at College Boreal and doing an apprenticeship.

Assistant Crown attorney Kevin Ludgate noted Duquette had a prior impaired driving conviction in 2011.

"What's aggravating here is Mr. Duquette did not know he was too drunk to operate a motor vehicle," he said. "He was clearly dishonest when dealing with police. The other three were too drunk or impaired to drive."

When Glaude, noting the blowing over conviction was Duquette's second drunk driving conviction, asked Duquette if he had a drinking problem.

Duquette said he did not.

"You have a problem with drinking and driving," countered Glaude.

Source: Sudbury Star


Last updated on: 2015-01-23 | Link to this post