Drink-driving bricklayer already banned for twice snubbing breathalyser

Melford Road

A head-on collision was narrowly avoided by both drivers braking sharply on the Long Melford bypass north of Sudbury - Credit: Google

A bricklayer has avoided going straight to jail for drink-driving while banned from the road for twice failing to take a breathalyser test.

Simon Smith almost caused a head-on collision while more than three times the alcohol limit at about 11am on New Year's Day.

The 57-year-old had been disqualified from driving for three years just three weeks earlier for failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis on two previous occasions.

Smith, of Martyns Rise, Long Melford, was handed an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Friday.

On January 2, he appeared in custody at the same court to admit driving while disqualified, careless driving, driving without insurance and driving with 111 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit being 35mcg. 

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said a head-on collision between Smith's Vauxhall Astra and another vehicle was only narrowly avoided on the Long Melford bypass, just north of Sudbury, by both drivers braking sharply.

He said Smith had been handed a community order, with unpaid work and 36-month driving ban, at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on December 8 for failing to provide specimen for analysis in Bury St Edmunds on July 24 and Colchester on September 2.

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Rob Pollington, mitigating, said Smith had since come to terms with, and sought help for innate alcohol misuse problems. 

He said a pre-sentence report by the probation service acknowledged Smith's eligibility for further rehabilitation.

"He is starting to deal with his demons," added Mr Pollington.

"All that's needed is some sort of intervention from professionals to ensure he doesn't return to court any time in the future."

Magistrates said the offences had crossed the custody threshold, but chose to suspend imprisonment and impose up to 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

Smith's driving ban was also extended to four years.