A FATHER of two has been banned from driving for three years for getting behind the wheel despite having downed four pints of beer.
Gary Sloan’s excuse for driving after hitting the booze was that the weather was bad, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.
The 33-year-old had been out drinking with friends and had intended to leave his car behind, but he later made a “serious error of judgement” by changing his mind because of the weather.
He was stopped by police after being seen to narrowly avoid oncoming traffic while driving along North Road, Boldon Colliery.
A breath test showed Sloan was more than twice the legal alcohol limit for driving.
During a search of his car, officers also found a quantity of cannabis.
The court heard that Sloan had previous convictions for driving with excess alcohol in 2006 and failing to provide a specimen of breath after being stopped by police while driving three years later.
He pleaded guilty to charges of driving with excess alcohol and possessing cannabis.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “At 9.30pm on Friday, December 20, police noticed a Nissan Micra travelling towards North Road when it nearly drove into oncoming traffic.
“The vehicle then turned into North Road without indicating. Police stopped the vehicle and noted alcohol on the breath of the driver.
“He took a roadside breath test, which was positive.”
She added: “During a search of his vehicle, police found a grinder containing a small amount of cannabis in the glovebox.”
During a police interview, Sloan said the cannabis had belonged to a friend, but he took responsibility for it.
Sloan, of Ramillies, Ryhope, Sunderland, recorded an alcohol reading of 78mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The limit is 35mcg.
Willie Johnstone, defending, said: “Sloan accepts that he made a serious error of judgement. He didn’t initially intend to drive home.
“He entered an immediate guilty plea, and I ask that you give him full credit for that.
“This will impact on his employment, but he will not lose his job.”
The court heard that the self-employed plasterer, a married dad of two, had intended to have a couple of drinks and leave his car, but when he saw how bad the weather was, he had made the “ill-advised decision to drive”.
Magistrates banned him from driving for three years and gave him a 12-month supervision order. He was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £60.