Drink-driver was almost five times over the limit
A man found with one of the highest drink-driving readings ever detected in Northern Ireland could be off the road for just nine months.
Raimonds Martinovs (39) was detected almost five times over the legal limit when caught at 11.20am on a Sunday at Circular Road in Larne.
A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday that Martinovs had a reading of 166 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimetres of breath.
The legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100mls.
The IT engineer, originally from Latvia but with an address at Mill Valley Place in the Ligoniel, Belfast, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving with excess alcohol in his breath on October 8 this year.
A prosecutor said police received a call from a member of the public who was behind Martinovs' vehicle, which was being driven erratically. When police officers spoke to the defendant his speech was slurred.
A defence lawyer said his client had an argument with his wife and "moved out and went to stay at a hotel".
He told the court Martinovs was drinking for several days and the detection was made at 11.20am when he was "returning to the family home".
The court heard the defendant had previously been given 10 penalty points for being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol in a car park.
The defence lawyer said Martinovs fully accepted the current matter from October 8.
The lawyer said driving was essential to his job, but that a driving ban was "something he is going to have to live with".
District Judge Peter Magill said: "You have pleaded guilty at the very first opportunity. I'm prepared to accept you were going through a difficult patch, which hopefully is behind you."
But he warned the defendant: "If you take a drink, don't go near a car."
The judge banned Martinovs for a year and fined him £500. He said the defendant was suitable for a drink-drive offenders course.
If he completes it successfully, the ban could be reduced to nine months.