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A 31-year-old man has been jailed at North Staffordshire Justice Centre after being caught driving while disqualified for the third time in as many years. In the same period he has received two convictions for drink driving, and two more for drug driving.

The court heard how Staffordshire police sought out Craig Smith after colleagues in the Cheshire constabulary alerted them.

Lynne Warrington, prosecuting, said: “The officers wanted to speak to Mr Smith about him driving a Ford Fiesta. They attended the address of Mr Smith’s mother in Bentilee, as she was the registered keeper of the vehicle. Mr Smith was there and was arrested on suspicion of driving the Fiesta while unfit to do so.”

On being breathalysed he gave a reading of 60mcg alcohol per 100ml breath – almost twice the legal limit of 35mcg.

Smith admitted during his interview that he had driven from Sandbach to Stoke-On-Trent, was disqualified from driving, and as such had no insurance.

Mitigating for Smith, Angela Trafford said that her client had been drinking the night before his arrest. “That morning he had an argument with his partner and made the very foolish decision to drive,” she said.

“It’s clear Mr Smith has significant mental health issues which he has struggled with since he was a teenager. As a result of these most recent offences, he is finally receiving some assistance with that. He has fully complied with the terms of his suspended sentence order.”

Already subject to a five-year disqualification, Smith pleaded guilty to drink driving and driving without insurance. Describing his driving record as “appalling”, magistrates sentenced him to 18 weeks in prison as well as activating eight weeks of his previously suspended sentence. In addition to his total of 26 weeks in jail, Smith was banned from driving for a further five years following his release and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drink driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.


Drink Driving Plumber Banned From Roads After Hotel Session

A plumber who had been drinking at a hotel where he was staying in the Peak District has been banned from driving after being caught behind the wheel while over twice the legal drink driving limit.

Chesterfield Magistrates heard how James Paul Thompson had been drinking for some time before leaving the hotel car park in his car.

Prosecuting, Neil Hollett explained: “The circumstances are that staff at the Old Hall Hotel pub had been serving the defendant alcohol for some hours before he got in his vehicle at the car park at the establishment and this was reported to police.

“The vehicle was seen going up Main Street into Hope and was swerving to avoid traffic and it is believed to have hit something and another vehicle nearby had been seen with a wing mirror smashed.”

Thompson was arrested upon his return to the hotel.

According to till receipts he had drunk six pints of beer, and subsequent tests found him to have 85mcg alcohol per 100ml breath – more than twice the legal limit of 35mcg.

Kirsty Sargent, speaking for Thompson, said that he was unaware that he had clipped anyone’s wing mirror, and was happy to sort out matters accordingly through insurance and compensation.

Ms Sargent also added that her client had been having a difficult time following the breakdown of his relationship, the loss of a family pet, and a dispute with a customer who also happens to be a relative. He has been forced to employ an apprentice to drive him to jobs as he was anticipating losing his license.

After pleading guilty to drink driving, magistrates banned Thompson from driving for 20 months, although this may be reduced by 22 weeks on completion of a drink-drivers rehabilitation course. He was also fined £400 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £40 victim surcharge.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drink driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.


Drink Driver “Ashamed” After Crashing While Three Times Legal Limit

North Staffordshire Justice Centre has heard how a 60-year-old man crashed his daughter’s car while drink driving after going out for post-work drinks with colleagues.

Dalvinder Virdee collided with another vehicle and as police helped him out of the car they noted he could “barely walk”.

Virdee told officers he believed he was insured to drive his daughter’s car, but checks with the insurance company showed that not to be the case.

Prosecuting, Emma Thompson told how police were called to an accident after a car driven by Virdee hit the back of another vehicle in Shelton at 5pm on April 7.

Miss Thompson said: “The other driver formed the opinion the Peugeot driver was drunk. The police attended and helped the defendant out the vehicle. He could barely walk.

“He was taken to the police station where he was breathalysed and gave a reading of 101mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, almost three times the legal limit of 35.

“He was also driving without insurance. He believed he had insurance but then realised he had not.”

Mitigating, Lee Yates, said that the father-of-three had fully complied with police. “He is well regarded in the local Sikh community. He feels a significant amount of remorse and shame,” said Mr Yates.

“He believed his fully comprehensive insurance allowed him to drive other people’s vehicles with their permission. Unfortunately, when the police spoke to his insurance company, it was not included.”

“He has made a mistake and will pay heavily for it.”

After pleading guilty to drink driving and driving without insurance, Magistrates banned Virdee from driving for two years, ordered him to pay £135 costs and a £85 surcharge. His ban will be reduced by 25% if he completes the drink drivers rehabilitation course.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drink driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.


Drug Driving Manchester Car Dealer Disqualified

A Manchester car dealer caught drug driving while 13 times the legal limit has been banned from the roads for 12 months and fined over £1,000.

Peter Pollastretti was seen by police staggering to his car following a night out in Knutsford, Cheshire.

Pollastretti failed a roadside breath test, but later testing showed him to be under the drink driving limit, however, he was tested for drugs when officers found five snap bags of cocaine in his possession.

The tests showed him to have 46mcg cocaine per litre of blood where the legal limit is 10mcg and 662mcg benzoylecgonine per litre of blood where the legal limit is 50mcg.

Pollastretti admitted possessing cocaine at Stockport Magistrates, however, he denied drug driving, claiming he swallowed the drug while being escorted to the police station in a patrol car.

Prosecuting, Nick Smart described how Pollastretti came to the police officers’ attention, saying they “noticed a couple going towards the car and they appeared to be staggering. They got into the car and drove off, so the officers followed them. They decided to flash their emergency lights and the vehicle pulled over and stopped and officers could smell alcohol on the driver’s breath.

“He failed a roadside test, was taken to a local police station and during the course of a search, five snap bags were seized from him. He wasn’t charged with drink driving after giving a negative reading but because of the finding of drugs and conditions of the offence, the officers suspected he was under the influence of drugs whilst driving. He was well above the limit.”

Pollastretti gave no comment during his interview with police, but told magistrates: “I had something in my pocket that I was worried about if I got searched when I got to the police station and I did something a little silly.

“I took my wallet out of my inside pocket and took out a small bag with some cocaine and began to ingest it to swallow it. When the driver of the vehicle said ‘what are you doing back there?’ I said I was just checking to see if I had got any money to get a taxi home with.

“He then said ‘don’t be sucking your copper coins as it’s an old wives tale and doesn’t work’. I didn’t know what he was talking about. The interior lights were switched on and kept on for the remainder of the journey. I only thought there was the one bag so I tried to consume it but I got interrupted.

“I replaced the wallet to my back pocket. When we arrived I was taken to the reception desk and I was arrested for drink driving.

“I emptied my pockets and went round the corner to sign some forms. When I came back they asked me about the snap bags they had found in my wallet.

“When the officer asked me if I had taken any drugs or medication, I presumed he meant prescription drugs given to me by the doctor – I wasn’t thinking about other drugs at the time.

“I did take cocaine in the back of the police car. My solicitor told me to say no comment during the interview. I have never been in custody before so I didn’t know what to do. I know I had plenty of opportunity to tell the truth – I’m just trying to tell the truth now.

“Those other snap bags had been there for a long time, I didn’t realise they were there. I knew I would get found with it on me and I panicked so I decided to ingest it, it was a mistake.”

PC Lee Jones, of Cheshire Police, said: “When we took him into custody. He seemed to be a tolerable chap, mature and compliant and we didn’t think there was a reason to handcuff him. He was sat in the rear of the car behind my colleague in the front passenger seat so I could see what he was doing and keep my eye on him.

“I tilted my rearview mirror so I could see him as well as the back window. There was general chitchat in the car, nothing special. I didn’t see him move at all, if I did I would have stopped the car. I didn’t see him move in the back seat and I made no comment about him ‘sucking on copper coins’.

“He initially made no comment in his interview about having taken drugs but then he told me he had taken aspirin and cod liver oil. During the interview his eyes were red and watery.”

Magistrates found Pollastretti guilty of drug driving, banning him from driving for 12 months. He was also fined £1,250 and ordered to pay £895 costs.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drug driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.

About Freeman & Co.

Freeman & Co. are a specialist firm of road traffic and criminal defence solicitors based in Manchester but with nationwide coverage.

Freeman & Co. specialise in a wide variety of road traffic cases, ranging from drink driving, speeding and mobile phone offences, to name but a few.

The firm was created by Nick Freeman, who has been dubbed “Mr Loophole” by the press for his technical legal ability and robustly challenging the prosecution.

Nick is well regarded as an expert road traffic lawyer and has successfully represented many high profile clients for a variety of motoring offences as well as criminal offences.

The firm of Freeman & Co. embodies the way Nick works, with minute attention to detail and challenging the prosecution at every turn.

If you are facing a road traffic matter or criminal offence and need the services of Freeman & Co. please call on 0161 236 7007.

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