Chef with drink-drive conviction spared ban for being drunk in charge of a Fiat in Felixstowe

Julian Ditcham with the Drager Alcotest used by Suffolk Constabulary. Pic Archant

Julian Ditcham with the Drager Alcotest used by Suffolk Constabulary. Pic Archant

A chef with a previous drink-drive conviction has been spared a ban after he was found in charge of a vehicle while drunk.

Unlicensed driver Dan Mitranca, of Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, was discovered asleep in the driver’s seat of his uninsured Fiat Punto with the engine running in Church Lane, Felixstowe, Ipswich magistrates heard.

The vehicle was 10 metres from the junction with High Road and one metre from the kerb.

The 36-year-old’s car also had no MoT certificate.

Mitranca pleaded guilty to being in charge of a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit.

He also admitted not having a licence, not having an MoT, and not having insurance for the car.

The offences occurred on July 16.

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Prosecutor Lucy Miller said at 9.15pm a police sergeant responded to a call about a male slumped over the steering wheel of a car in Church Lane.

When the officer arrived he found Mitranca “slumbering”.

Mrs Miller said he remained apparently asleep or unconscious for a period of time, but eventually came round.

Mitranca smelled strongly of alcohol.

A subsequent breath test showed he had 81 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

In his police interview Mitranca said he had been drinking in a pub and had used the car – which had bought the previous day - to sleep in.

He told an officer another man had driven the Punto to where it was found.

Mitranca said he had asked the man to park it there, but said he had no idea why the engine was still running.

Mitranca added he did not remember driving at any point.

The court was told Mitranca had a Romanian driving licence, but had not applied for his UK licence back after the end of a ban for a drink-driving conviction.

Paul Booty, mitigating, said of his client: “He was drunk. He was in the vehicle. He was asleep at the time.

“There’s not evidence he was going to drive, but equally there’s no evidence he wasn’t. He was asleep in his car listening to his iPod.”

Magistrates decided not to ban Mitranca. His licence was endorsed with 10 penalty points.

Mitranca was also fined £430 and ordered to pay costs of £85, as well as £30 to the victims’ fund.

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