Revelstoke court: Calgary man avoids jail after fifth drunk driving conviction

A Calgary man was sentenced to six months of house arrest after pleading guilty to impaired driving in Revelstoke court last week.

A Calgary man plead guilty to impaired driving in Revelstoke court last week.

A Calgary man was sentenced to six months of house arrest after pleading guilty to impaired driving in Revelstoke court last week.

Matthew Gerald Birchard, 40, was charged with driving over the legal blood alcohol limit after he was stopped while driving drunk on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Revelstoke on May 1, 2015.

Birchard was pulled over after an off-duty RCMP officer reported him to be swerving between lanes. He was stopped by on-duty police just east of Rogers Pass, where he gave a fail on the breath test. Back at the Revelstoke detachment, he registered blood alcohol readings of 0.18 and 0.19 — more than double the legal limit of 0.08.

It was the fifth time Birchard was charged with impaired driving, following convictions in 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2008.

Judge Edmund De Walle handed down a nine month conditional sentence. He imposed six months house arrest, followed by a curfew for the final three months.

De Walle said the only reason he didn’t send Birchard to jail was because his last convictions was eight years ago.

“You’ve come very close to going to jail for a period of time,” De Walle told Birchard. “Your driving record is cause for concern.”