Drink-driver "blasé" after being caught four times over the limit

Burnley Magistrates' CourtBurnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
A second time drink-driver who admitted having downed about 10 pints was said to be "blasé" about his actions, a court heard.

Mechanic Justinas Bernotas (28), who turned out to be four times the legal limit, had been caught after he pulled out in front of police on Albert Road, Colne, at 2-30am.

Another motorist had been following the Volkswagen Phaeton for some time and had seen the driver "swerving over the road in a dangerous manner", prosecutor Mrs Tracy Yates told Burnley Magistrates' Court.

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Bernotas had been disqualified from driving for a year for excess alcohol in 2014. But, he had not taken a drink drivers' rehabilitation course which he was offered and which would have knocked three months off his ban on successful completion as he had thought it wasn't worth it.

After the latest offence, he blew 127 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath at the roadside. The legal limit is 35. He then gave a reading of 139 at the police station.

The defendant, of Rowland Avenue, Nelson, admitted driving with excess alcohol on Albert Road, on August 30th.

The shift worker has now been ordered off the road for 40 months, but was spared jail. He was given 10 weeks in jail, suspended for 18 months, with 20 days' rehabilitation. The defendant must pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

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District Judge James Clarke told him: "Given the concerning attitude you have to drink driving, I am persuaded by the probation service and your solicitor that your attitude is best challenged in the community."

A probation officer who interviewed the defendant told the court he had been out with friends over the Bank Holiday weekend. His intention had been to go stay at a friend's house, but the parties got separated, he realised he had nowhere to stay and he went back to his car and decided to drive. Bernotas said he had had around 10 pints.

The officer said the defendant had been "very blasé" and shrugged his shoulders when she asked him about the offence. She continued: "I told him he was at risk of receiving a custodial sentence. I very much suggest supervision with the drink impaired drivers' programme. He certainly needs it on a one-to-one basis."

Mr Nick Dearing (defending) said :" He certainly hasn't treated this at all lightly as far as I am aware. He was clearly very concerned about the situation in which he has put himself."

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The solicitor continued: "He's an honest young man. He knows full well that he was drunk. He has never tried to lie. He has not tried to mislead the probation service or minimise what he did. He knows full well his behaviour was utterly foolish and dangerous."

Mr Dearing, who said the defendant worked hard and had just started a second business, added: "I do accept his behaviour clearly crosses the custody threshold. He is a young man, he's clearly capable of reform if he puts his mind to it, which is demonstrated by his diligence in other parts of his life."