A drink driving minibus taxi driver has been banned from the roads for two years after being found so drunk he “nearly fell out” of his vehicle.
Police spotted the Northumberland man, who was off-duty at the time, as he staggered to his vehicle after buying alcohol at a garage.
He then failed a breath test but claimed he had used an alcoholic mouthwash a few moments before.
He later admitted to South East Northumberland Magistrates Court that he had lied as he pleaded guilty to drink driving.
Prosecuting, James Long said that a Special Constable had witnessed the man buying alcohol and thought he appeared drunk as he was unsteady on his feet.
“The defendant drove off and he’s stopped by the police close by. The officer could see that he was unsteady on his feet and nearly fell out the minibus when asked to get out,” said Mr Long.
“He fails a roadside breath test, and is arrested.”
While being informed he was to be detained, the defendant became “irritated” and tried to jump out of the police car, then lied at the police station, stating he had used alcoholic mouthwash.
His breath test yielded a result of 81mcg alcohol per 100ml breath – over twice the legal drink driving limit of 35mcg.
Mitigating, Graham Crouth said that his client hadn’t been at work at the time of the incident, and has subsequently lost his job, adding: “He had attended a family party for an uncle’s birthday and it was the first family gathering since his grandmother died.
“His intention was to spend the night there but he got upset and made the decision to leave the premises. He was on his way back home when he stopped off to buy the alcohol at Moor Farm.”
District Judge Sarah Griffiths said on sentencing: “You were driving a minibus – that’s a largeish motor vehicle – and a police officer described your demeanour as clearly being drunk and your manner afterwards indicates to me the level of intoxication.
“You’re a taxi driver, you had a responsible job up until this point.
“You making that decision on August 19, the distance you drove in the state that you were, was incredibly dangerous. Fortunately, there was no accident and nobody was hurt.”
In addition to the two-year ban for drink driving, the man was also handed a 12-month community order for 60 hours of unpaid work.
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