Sheriff brands drink driving case ‘quite appalling’
An unemployed joiner who drove while more than four times the drink driving limit has been banned for two years and had his vehicle forfeited.
Shane Anderson, 35, of Keolka, Sandwick, has also been ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work – the maximum that can be imposed for the offence.
Police were called just after 12am today and told a white van had left Burra, in which the driver was heavily under the influence of alcohol.
Officers on patrol found him several minutes later and noticed an “erratic” way in which the van was being driven.
They followed him for some time with their blue flashing lights on. However it took Anderson some time to realise he was being followed.
When he eventually pulled over he co-operated fully with police. But he failed the roadside screening test and was arrested.
At Lerwick Sheriff Court today Anderson admitted driving with 145 microgrammes of alcohol in his breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said it had appeared Anderson was attempting to drive home.
“He felt it was quite okay to drive quite a considerable distance,” he said.
He moved the van be forfeited, given Anderson’s high reading.
Defence agent Richard Donaldson said Anderson “deeply regretted” his actions, which he said were “entirely stupid”.
He added Anderson, a joiner by trade who has been unemployed for three months, had gone out for a “few drinks” and decided to drive home.
Mr Donaldson said Anderson had no income and was not in a position to pay a fine.
“There is no underlying problem with alcohol. He is someone who likes a drink every now and then. There is no habit or dependence issue here.”
He added Anderson had no quibble with the van being forfeited, although he did stress there were belongings in the vehicle which Anderson wanted to retrieve.
Sheriff Philip Mann told Anderson: “This was clearly a very high count. It’s about four times the limit, so you must have been extremely drunk.
“Given that you are a first offender I am not thinking it merits a custodial sentence, but it is a case which is really quite appalling and it could have resulted in something much worse happening. You have to count yourself lucky you didn’t encounter another vehicle or a pedestrian.”
Anderson was initially in line for a three years ban. But because he immediately pleaded guilty he was entitled to a one third discount.
He can reduce the ban by a further three months if he completes the drink driving rehabilitation course.
Although disqualified, Anderson has been entrusted with the van keys until tomorrow afternoon to allow him to retrieve his belongings from the vehicle before it is removed following its forfeiture, although he has been placed under strict warning not to move it.