Drunk in charge man sitting in car talking to his friend

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When he was found in the driver’s seat of a car a 33-year-old man admitted he had been drinking but insisted he had no intention of driving.

Mark McDowell, Limewood, Banbridge, admitted being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in his breath on July 4 this year.

He was fined £250 last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court, given ten points and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy.

The court heard that at 1.15am police saw a car with two males on board sitting in the Bridge Street east car park.

There was a strong smell of alcohol from the car and they spoke to the defendant who was sitting in the driver’s seat.

Police asked him if he had consumed alcohol and he replied: “Yes but I’m not driving.” After failing a preliminary breath test McDowell provided an evidential test which gave a reading of 87.

A solicitor representing McDowell asked the court not to interfere with the defendant’s ability to drive.

He explained that he had driven to a public house in Banbridge and he and a friend ended up sitting in the car.

The solicitor added that the keys were not in the ignition and the lights were not on.

He said that McDowell was separated from his ex-partner and had two young children he takes for trips and at weekends.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said he would take into account the defendant’s response to police at the time and would not disqualify him on this occasion.