chief-levis-roy-0930

Lévis police Chief Jean-François Roy, 55, was arrested in Quebec City on Sept. 29, 2010. ((City of Levis))

The chief of police in Lévis, Que., has pleaded not guilty to drunk driving charges.

Jean-François Roy, 55, was arrested in Quebec City in September for allegedly driving with a blood-alcohol level at twice the legal limit. Roy did not appear in court in Quebec City on Thursday.

The pleas were entered by his lawyer, which prosecutor Nicolas Champoux said is common during arraignments.

"It's usual. It's not the exception, it's the rule," he said.

"He has the choice to be here or to be represented. The accused has to be present at his trial. For the rest of the procedures, he can be represented."

Roy came out publically on Wedesday to say he wanted to put the charges behind him and get back to work.

"In Quebec, other police officers involved in similar cases, barring any aggravating circumstances, have been able to keep their jobs," he said.

"When you've been serving the community for 36 years, and this is how it ends, it's definitely not what I would have wished."

Roy, who was suspended with pay pending the outcome of his trial, admits public opinion against him may be a factor when it comes time for the City of Lévis to decide whether to give him back his job.

At the time of Roy's arrest, Lévis Mayor Danielle Roy-Marinelli called the alleged actions of the chief unacceptable.

"It's a shock for the City of Lévis, for the politicians, the employees and the police department," said Roy-Marinelli at a news conference soon after Roy was pulled over.

"It's unacceptable that a police chief would be found in a situation like this. Naturally, a police chief is a very strong symbol in a community."

Roy's trial resumes at the Quebec City courthouse on Feb. 25.