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Weekends in jail for second DUI
Man caught doing donuts on Franklin Avenue on ATV blew close to double the legal limit

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
A 23-year-old man has been sentenced to jail on the weekends after RCMP caught him drunk driving and doing donuts on Franklin Avenue - his second conviction for drunk driving within the past year.

Justin Anthony Couch was given 30 days in jail - which he'll serve two days at a time on weekends - on Jan. 7.

He is banned from driving for three years, will have to pay over $300 in fines and surcharges and will be on probation for one year.

Couch was arrested after an RCMP officer observed him driving a "racing style ATV" in front of Mac's convenience store on Franklin Avenue during the early morning hours of Oct. 26.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the officer saw a helmet-less Couch, with a passenger, spinning his tires and performing donuts in the middle of the road.

At one point the officer saw the vehicle almost tip over, balancing on two wheels.

Couch was arrested when he stopped and attempted to enter the store.

Couch explained to the officer it was his birthday and he'd "only had three shots."

A breathalyzer was administered where Couch blew samples of 170, 140 and 150 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

The legal limit is 80.

Judge Robert Gorin said he would only consider the two lesser numbers in his sentence, meaning Couch narrowly avoided a harsher sentence normally reserved for those who have twice the legal limit of alcohol in their system.

Just two months prior Couch had been convicted of driving with over the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, for an incident in May.

A charge of stunt driving was withdrawn by the Crown prior to sentencing. Couch pleaded guilty to driving while prohibited and driving without registration.

He was fined $100 for the latter in addition to $215 of victim of crime surcharges for all three convictions.

Couch expressed remorse for his actions that morning.

"I know what I've done is completely wrong," he told Gorin before his sentence was read.

Gary Wool, Couch's defence attorney, noted his client had no memory of the incident.

He said his client has cut back on his drinking and works a full-time job.

Gorin said Couch would need to take more serious steps to curtail his drinking.

He ordered him to attend alcohol counselling as directed by his probation officer.

"There's a lot of time to put this behind you," Gorin said, noting Couch's youth.

Gorin warned Couch he could be banned from driving for life if he ever drives drunk or breaches his prohibition again.

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