Bad decision leads to impaired charge

Ryan Ross
Published on March 24, 2016

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A woman who said she didn't plan on driving when she got behind the wheel of her car and started the engine was found guilty Friday of having care and control of the vehicle while drunk.

Deborah Darlene Allen, 58, was in provincial court before Judge John Douglas in Charlottetown for a trial after pleading not guilty.

But despite hearing she had a plan to take a cab home after drinking at the P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival, Douglas said the level of risk was high with Allen in the driver's seat of a running car.

Douglas fined Allen $1,000 and ordered her to pay a $300 victim surcharge.

During the trial, the court heard from a Charlottetown police officer who had been told to keep an eye on Allen by another officer.

Not long after, two officers were running through a parking lot when Allen was seen trying to get into the driver's side of her car.

By the time one officer reached her, Allen was in the driver's seat and had turned the car on.

The police force's breathalyzer technician testified Allen told her she was going to drive.

Allen's breathalyzer samples showed her blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

She denied telling the police she planned to drive.

The court also heard testimony, including from Allen, that she was waiting for a cab to pick her up after she was separated from her friends at the festival.

Allen, who has a back injury, said she went to her car to get warm and rest after standing for several hours.

The temperature that night was about 19 C.

Douglas said Allen might have had a plan in pace to get home, but she deviated from that plan.

Allen will be banned from driving for one year.