Drunk driver avoids jail because he doesn't speak English

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 26, 2016

Drunk driver avoids jail because he can't speak Enghlish

A man who caused a car crash while driving drunk avoided jail time because he doesn't speak English.

Angel Maria Urena Munoz, 60, appeared with a translator before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown where he pleaded guilty to failing the breathalyzer.

The court heard that on Jan. 9, a witness saw what appeared to be Urena Munoz's 2011 Toyota Corolla hitting a pole.

Urena Munoz backed up and almost hit the witness's car before he swerved into the wrong lane and ran into a vehicle driving in the opposite direction.

Two breathalyzer samples taken later showed his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit and went up between samples.

The accident caused $1,113.12 in damage to the victim's vehicle.

In deciding on a penalty, Douglas said the usual sentence in P.E.I. for a first drunk driving offence is one to three days in jail.

Douglas said in light of language problems that would arise at the Provincial Correctional Centre he decided not to sentence Urena Munoz to jail time.

He added it wasn't an invitation for others to plead ignorance of English to avoid jail time.

Douglas fined Urena Munoz $1,200 and ordered him to pay a $360 victim surcharge.

Urena Munoz is banned from driving for one year and will be on probation for six months.

Douglas also ordered him to pay $1,113.12 in restitution.