A serial drink-driver was just two days shy of getting his licence back when he was caught over-the-limit again in Aberdeen.
James O’Connor had previously been disqualified for persistently driving whilst banned, without insurance or under influence.
The 56-year-old has now lost his job, his licence, and even his car after he was caught behind the wheel in the city centre on October 18.
Police caught him driving on Miller Street and Cotton Street while disqualified, without insurance and with a breath alcohol reading of 34, the legal limit being 22.
Fiscal depute Rebecca Thomson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court that the seizure of his new car, worth an estimated £700, was warranted given O’Connor’s repeat offending.
The dad-of-two had recently paid just over £400 for the Ford Fiesta “in anticipation” of getting his licence back.
But he made the mistake of jumping behind its wheel after drinking and with two days of his ban still to serve.
‘He can only express embarrassment’
Defence agent Kaitlin Pirie said: “He was just a couple days away from his disqualification coming to an end. He can only express embarrassment that he carried out this series of offences again.
“He knows this behaviour must come to an end and he knows this could end in a period of imprisonment.”
She said he was an alcoholic but has had “periods of sobriety”. He has lost his job as a result of the charges, though, and now suffers from mental health issues and depression.
“He had bought the car in anticipation of getting his licence back,” she added. “He was waiting on DVLA correspondence.”
Forced to forfeit car
That car has been held at Kittybrewster police station since he was caught – and it now won’t be returned to him.
Neither will his licence for another three years.
Sheriff Margaret Hodge warned him he had crossed the threshold for a custodial sentence but said his periods of sobriety proved he would benefit from a community-based punishment consisting of supervision and a curfew.
Handed further ban and a hefty fine
“I am sure you are aware it’s a course of foolish decisions you made, but the trouble is it has been repeated throughout your life,” she told him.
“It does merit custody.”
However, she went on to say his periods of sobriety and intention of regaining employment suggested an alternative could be offered.
O’Connor, of Hardgate, Aberdeen, was banned from the roads for three years and handed a £420 fine, a 12-month supervision order and a nighttime curfew for the next two months.
He must also hand over his car.
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