Drink-drive suspect gets ban for failing to do test

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A motorist refused to provide a specimen for a drink-drive test after he had been misinformed by a friend that he had 30 minutes of grace before police could test him.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on May 2 how Duncan Paul Mellor, 68, of Golden Valley Caravan Park, at Riddings, Alfreton, had been seen by police narrowly missing a pedestrian on a zebra crossing.

Prosecuting solicitor Sam Matkin said: “Police officers witnessed the defendant’s vehicle approach the zebra crossing and come to a sudden stop as it narrowly avoided hitting a member of the public on the crossing.

“The vehicle continued afterwards and was crossing the white lines and police caused the vehicle to stop and they could smell alcohol on the defendant’s breath.”

Mr Matkin added that Mellor refused to take a roadside breath test and he was taken to a police station where he again refused to provide a specimen.

Mellor pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen as part of an investigation into whether he had committed an offence after the incident on April 16.

Defence solicitor John Last said a friend of Mellor’s told him that if he had a drink police could not breath test him for a further 30 minutes and he was not required to give a specimen.

Mr Last added: “We hear every day of the way people don’t understand the drink-drive laws.

“As a condition of getting a licence we should do a drink-driver course.

“A friend had told the defendant that if he had a drink police could not breath test him for another 30 minutes.”

Mr Last added: “As a pedestrian came out the defendant had to slam the brakes on to avoid a collision. But he still thought he had 30 minutes and was not required to give a specimen.

“We don’t know what his roadside test reading would have been. The defendant may have blown and been under the legal limit but we will never know.”

Magistrates briefly adjourned the case to consider a probation service report before sentencing. They disqualified Mellor from driving for 22 months but if the defendant completes a rehabilitation course by July 16, 2018, the ban could be reduced by 24 weeks.

He was also ordered to pay an £85 victim surcharge and £85 costs.