SEVERAL motorists discovered the hard way this week that alcohol can continue to have an effect the morning after a drinking session.
In Bega Local Court on Tuesday, a number of motorists were convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and had their licences confiscated.
Paulo Sagala, from Sydney suburb Asquith, was pulled over at 6.50am the morning after drinks with work colleagues.
He said in court he had slept in his car and was driving the short distance to work when pulled over for a random breath test.
He returned a positive reading and was taken to Bega Police Station where further analysis revealed a blood-alcohol content of 0.062.
He pleaded guilty to low-range PCA and was convicted – his licence was suspended for three months and he fined $600
Peter Mak, of Pambula, also pleaded guilty to low-range PCA after a random breath test returned a reading of 0.061.
Magistrate Doug Dick said due to a previous low-range offence in 2012 that was dismissed without conviction, he was unable to allow Mak leniency this time.
He was disqualified from driving for three months and fined $700.
Luke Tonkin thought he had taken care of lingering effects of alcohol from a friend’s party by sleeping it off the following day.
However, Bega Local Court heard how drugs he had taken at the party remained in his system.
Tonkin’s defence solicitor said “regrettably he didn’t have the knowledge or understanding of the drug’s effect on his driving and the length of time it stays in your system”.
Magistrate Dick said what really concerned the court was that a cocktail of alcohol and drugs was in Tonkin’s system and that if he’d hurt anyone while behind the wheel he would be facing jail time.
He outlined the penalty for driving under the influence of drugs can carry an automatic penalty of three years without a licence, a $3300 fine and 12 months’ jail.
However, Magistrate Dick took into account Tonkin’s employment and financial status as a third-year apprentice when reducing the penalty.
Tonkin was convicted and fined $1600, disqualified from driving for two years and placed on a good behaviour bond for 12 months.
Craig Morris also lost his licence, for a period of six months, after pleading guilty to middle-range PCA.
The court heard it was Morris’s first offence of any nature and he had every intention of doing the right thing with a swag in his car, but for whatever reason chose to drive anyway.
“No doubt you’re an honest person, but no doubt you took a serious risk,” Magistrate Dick said.
As well as the loss of licence, Morris was ordered to pay a fine of $1100.