‘I didn’t realise it was a criminal offence’ – drink-drivers convicted in court
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A building surveyor, a landlord, a social care assistant and a construction site agent were among the first motorists to appear in court after being stopped for drink-driving.
Earlier this month Sussex Police launched its annual crackdown on those who get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Officers have been carrying out enforcement patrols and checks as part of a national campaign called Operation Limit.
Since the beginning of December, more than 140 motorists have been arrested. Meanwhile officers have carried out nearly 1,700 vehicle checks and conducted 676 breath tests and 118 DrugWipe tests at stop sites across the county.
Meanwhile, our public campaign Drink Driving: Together We Can Stop It, continues to highlight the need for everyone to prevent, persuade and report drink-drivers to the police.
Roads Policing Unit Superintendent Rachel Glenton said: “Our officers are determined to catch offenders on our roads before they cause serious harm to themselves or other road users.
“We have already charged more than 50 motorists who have got behind the wheel while intoxicated.
“We patrol the county’s roads 24/7, every day of the year, and these results show that while we can’t be everywhere, we could be anywhere.”
Among those who were the first to be caught was Gerard Campbell, 58, a housing landlord, of Cade Street, Heathfield, on December 1.
Officers were called to the scene of a minor collision involving Campbell's Seat at North Road, Hellingly, and could smell alcohol on his breath.
He gave a positive breath test for 63 microgrammes (mcg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
At Hastings Magistrates' Court on December 20 Campbell admitted driving while over the prescribed limit for alcohol. He was disqualified from driving for one year and was ordered to pay a £200 fine, £85 costs, and an £80 victim surcharge.
In Crawley, officers spotted a Ford Ranger bring driven by David Gullon slowly on a road with the national 60mph speed limit, and then saw Gullon go through a red light at 1.15am on December 3.
The vehicle was flagged down and stopped for officers in a nearby car park, where the driver completed a breath test which showed he was over the limit.
When arrested, Gullon said: "I didn't realise this was a criminal offence."
He tested positive for 61mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Gullon, 61, a building surveyor of Ocklynge Road, Eastbourne, appeared before Crawley Magistrates' Court on December 19 where he admitted driving while over the prescribed limit for alcohol.
He was disqualified for 17 months and was ordered to pay a £600 fine, £85 costs and a £240 victim surcharge.
Barbra Wright caught officers' attention when she was driving a Nissan Juke and was asked to stop as part of a stop-check at 9.30pm on December 4 at Storrington.
She struggled to pull over and mounted the kerb, before telling officers she had drank two glasses of wine earlier in the evening.
Officers asked her to provide a breath test, and at first she failed to complete the test properly, but eventually did so and was over the limit.
She later tested positive for 41mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Wright, 48, a social care assistant, of Cedar Close, Storrington, appeared before Worthing Magistrates' Court on December 20 where she admitted driving while over the prescribed limit for alcohol.
She was disqualified for one year, and was ordered to pay a £266 fine, £85 costs, and a £106 victim surcharge.
Officers saw Liam Scott driving a Mercedes at inappropriate speed through Worthing, and stopped his vehicle in Edmonton Road at about 11pm on December 4.
He told an officer had consumed three pints of beer at the pub during the World Cup football match between England and Senegal, and had only stopped drinking an hour and a half before getting behind the wheel.
The breath test showed he was positive for 67mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Scott, 35, a construction site agent, of Edmonton Road, Durrington, appeared before Worthing Magistrates' Court on December 20 where he admitted driving while over the prescribed limit for alcohol.
He was disqualified for 18 months and was ordered to pay a £500 fine, £85 costs and a £200 victim surcharge.
Finally, Jack Carroll was seen driving in a Citroen Nemo van along the A259 towards Bexhill when he was stopped by officers near Hooe. He tested positive for 46mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
At Hastings Magistrates’ Court on December 21, the 31-year-old of Rye Harbour, Rye, admitted driving while over the prescribed limit for alcohol.
He was disqualified for one year and was ordered to pay a £200 fine, £85 costs, and an £80 surcharge.
You can help prevent drink driving by taking steps such as pre-booking a taxi before a night out, agreeing with friends or loved ones to attend a venue where you can all walk to, or agree to have a designated driver for the night who does not drink alcohol.
Friends and family members are also encouraged to help persuade someone who may be intoxicated not to get behind the wheel, such as by offering a lift with a designated driver, offering a place to stay, booking them a taxi, or taking a drink-driver’s keys off them.
But if you are unable to prevent or persuade a drink-driver, the public are urged to report them to the police.
Being intoxicated through either alcohol or drugs is one of the “fatal five” factors in why people are killed or seriously injured on our roads.
The other factors are driving at excess speed, not wearing a seatbelt, being distracted such as by using a mobile phone, and careless or inconsiderate driving.
The consequences of drink or drug-driving could include the following:
A minimum 12 month ban;
An unlimited fine;
A possible prison sentence;
A criminal record, which could affect your current and future employment;
An increase in your car insurance;
Trouble travelling to countries such as the USA;
You could also kill or seriously injure yourself or someone else.