Drink driving South Tyneside soldier had opened bottle of lager in car when stopped by police on Christmas Eve
A serving South Tyneside soldier has put his career in the firing line after being caught drink-driving for the second time in less than a decade.
Daniel Morgan, 34, of Fieldway, Jarrow, has been banned from the roads for three years and may now miss out on a promotion to the rank of sergeant, a court was told.
Currently a corporal, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard he was due to be promoted before the Christmas Eve offence, a judgement now pending.
He was breathalysed after the slow driving of his Ford Focus through Jarrow aroused the suspicions of police who smelled booze and spotted an open lager bottle in the car when they pulled him over.
Prosecutor Lee Poppett said a police officer’s attention was drawn towards a vehicle “being driven slowly and seemed to hesitate at a junction.”
Mr Poppett told the court the car also swayed towards the marked central road lines and its hazard lights came on during its journey.
He added: “The police officer describes smelling intoxicating liquor and sees an open bottle of Sol lager in the cup holder. Mr Morgan replied, ‘Oh God’ and placed his head in his hands.”
The court heard two further breath samples were taken at a police station, the lowest of which showed 48 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
Evidence given to the court by one of Morgan’s military bosses described the shock felt by his comrades at the drink-drive charge.
It was stated Morgan, who has three step-children and a child of his own, carried out work for homeless charities.
Morgan, who represented himself in court, said he had been suffering stress due to domestic issues.
His previous drink-drive offence was in 2011, meaning he faced a minimum three-year ban for being caught over the limit twice in 10 years.
District Judge Natalie Wortley told him: “As you will be aware driving with excess alcohol is a serious offence.”
Morgan, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, was fined £506 and must pay £85 court costs and a £50 victim surcharge.