Burnley dad drunk at wheel with child in car was caught because he was having a cigarette

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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A dad "drunk" at the wheel with his little girl in the car with him got caught when police spotted him having a cigarette - which is now a crime.

Jobless James Brogan, who was three times the limit for the second time, is said to currently spend the majority of his time boozing, and lives with his mum, who he relies on entirely on for cash.

Burnley Magistrates' Court was told how the single 31-year-old had had a heavy night on the beer, lasting until the early hours. He had then downed about four cans in the afternoon before he was pulled over by officers at 6-20pm.

The ex-tarmacer was taking his daughter to her grandma's in the child's mother's car.

Mr Andrew Robinson (prosecuting) told the hearing police saw the defendant light a cigarette while stopped at a junction and noticed a young child in the back of the car.

He continued: "The vehicle passed by and he was smoking. He was requested to stop. Clearly, alcohol had been consumed and he was arrested."

Brogan blew 103 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath at the police station. The legal limit is 35. He wasn't insured and didn't have a licence either.

A probation officer who interviewed the defendant, told the hearing: "Had he realised he was so drunk he wouldn't have driven."

The officer said Brogan was assessed as a medium risk of serious harm to the public. She told the court he had gone out the previous evening with his brother.

She added: "He says they drank a lot of alcohol. He says he felt fine to drive. He certainly wouldn't have gone and picked up his daughter had he realised just how over the limit he would be."

The court was told the defendant, a former addict, but now drug-free, had had ongoing issues with alcohol for about 10 years.

Mr John Rusius, defending Brogan, said after he was previously convicted of drink-driving three years ago, he sought help from Inspire ( the alcohol treatment service ) and got himself sorted out.

In July 2016, Brogan was banned for two years, after giving a reading of 116 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The court was told at that time that Brogan, who had been to a family party the day before, smelled of drink and had a can of Stella lager in the car door pocket.

Brogan, of Amersham Grove, Burnley, admitted driving with excess alcohol, no insurance and otherwise than in accordance with a licence, on Queens Park Road, in the town and smoking in a vehicle in which a child was present, all on April 15th.

Sentencing, District Judge James Clarke told him: "The excess alcohol charge is by far the most serious, but that's not to minimise any of the others. The fact you had a child in the car is of particular concern to me."

Brogan was given a 12-month community order, with a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a six-month alcohol treatment programme. He was ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.

The defendant was fined a total of £150 - £50 of which was for smoking with a child in the vehicle - and must pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. He was banned for 40 months.