A MAN has been banned from driving for six months after being caught in charge of a car while over the drink limit.
David John Gibson had drank three cans of cider in The Princess Helena pub, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool, before he got into his Jaguar car and drove it across town.
The 55-year-old, who has a disabled son, then parked up in the Spar car park, in Powlett Road, where he was approached by police.
Officers noticed the keys in the vehicle’s ignition and could smell booze on the defendant’s breath, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court was told.
Tests showed he was almost three times the legal limit, with 91 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
Prosecuting, Joanne Hesse said: “The defendant was observed sitting in the driver’s side of the Jaguar car and the keys were in the ignition.
“While officers spoke to him they could smell alcohol on his breath. They asked if it was his car and if he was about to drive and he responded by saying ‘yes’.”
She added: “In interview he said he’d been drinking in The Princess Helena pub and then headed home in the car with him driving. He said he’d stopped in Powlett Road and remained in the car, and he accepted he was in charge of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.”
Gibson – who was banned from driving for a year in 2001 – admitted being in charge of a car while above the legal alcohol limit on March 3.
Mitigating, John Relton told justices that banning Gibson from the roads would not only make it difficult for him getting to work, but would also be an inconvenience to his disabled son.
Mr Relton said: “There is no doubt that any disqualification would be a significant hardship. However, where he works is the opposite end of town to where he lives and there is not always transport available to him.
“His son, who is effectively disabled and is at risk of losing his leg also depends on him very much for transport. Not only would a ban inconvenience my client but it would inconvenience his son as well.”
He added: “He parked up with the intention of going to see somebody about some pension advice. All he can do now is sincerely apologise to you for his actions.”
Chairman of the bench of magistrates Kate Brown sentenced Gibson, of Sea View Park, off Easington Road, in Hartlepool, to a six month driving ban and fined him £230, ordering him to pay £85 court costs and a £50 victim surcharge.