Impaired driver gets 30-day sentence

Nancy MacPhee
Published on August 19, 2014
Prince County Courthouse.

SUMMERSIDE — A city man, caught drunk behind the wheel while checking on his wife who was caught in a snowstorm, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail. 

Dino Ric Johnston had been scheduled to go to trial in Summerside provincial court on impaired driving charges, but Tuesday morning changed his plea to guilty.

The 53-year-old has a previous related record, with two impaired convictions.

The incident happened on March 13. Police, during patrol, approached Johnston in his vehicle in a driveway on Water Street after they found his wife’s vehicle nearby stuck in the snow. When they approached Johnston’s truck, there was a beer between the seats, claimed by the passenger, and a strong smell of alcohol.

Johnston, who was driving, was taken back to the police cruiser and, after suspecting he was impaired, taken to provide breath samples, both more than double the legal limit. He was released at the time.

Johnston’s lawyer, David Hammond, said his client realizes he shouldn’t have gotten behind the wheel after drinking, adding he didn’t drive on the highway.

“It is what it is,” added Hammond.

Judge Jeff Lantz, in sentencing Johnston to 30 days in jail, did agree with a request that he be allowed to serve the time on weekends.

“The circumstances may be somewhat unusual but he should know at this point he shouldn’t be behind the wheel, no matter what, while drinking,” added Lantz.

Johnston is now suspended from driving for 18 months and was ordered to pay $100 victim surcharge.