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Romanian man refused sample as he did not think it was illegal to be drunk in charge

Officers arrived to find the engine running, the music on loud and the defendant asleep in the passenger seat

Drink driving Craigavon Court

A Romanian national refused to give police a sample of breath as he did not believe it was illegal to be in charge of a vehicle whilst over the limit.

Court heard the 23-year-old was found asleep in the passenger seat of his vehicle with the engine running, music blaring and an empty bottle of vodka in the back.

Daniel Romanet, of Victoria Street in Lurgan, pleaded guilty to being in charge whilst unfit through drink or drugs, failing to provide a preliminary sample of breath and failing to provide an evidential sample of breath at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on October 13, at 9.30am, police received a report of an unresponsive driver in a Renault Clio on Victoria Street in Lurgan.

Officers arrived to find the engine running, the music on loud and the defendant asleep in the passenger seat.

Police observed an empty bottle of vodka in the back seat of the vehicle. They also noted that Romanet smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes.

The defendant refused to provide a sample of breath for police both at the road side and whilst in custody.

Defence solicitor Harry McCourt stated: “The biggest problem is he did not believe it was an offence to be drunk whilst in charge, so he refused to give a sample of breath as he did not think he had committed an offence.

“He has been driving for three-and-a-half years. He has been in Northern Ireland for six months and instructs he was drinking as he was stressed over not seeing his three-month-old child in Romania.”

Romanet was disqualified from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £450, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

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