Salesman avoids driving ban – because he was too drunk for breathalyser!
A SALESMAN escaped a driving ban because he was too drunk to take a second breath test. Michael Camp had wet himself and was found to be three-and-a-half times over the limit when he was pulled over by police.
They had spotted his car weaving down a road in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in November 2015.
He was taken to a police station for a second breath test, but was unsteady on his feet and collapsed while trying four times to blow into an intoximeter machine, meaning he couldn’t give a sample.
Anyone who refuses to take a breath test, or fails to supply a sample of breath and doesn’t have a ‘reasonable excuse’, can be arrested. A reasonable excuse includes a ‘genuine Free to drive: Michael Camp physical or mental condition’. Camp, 52, from Milton Keynes, was charged with failing to provide a breath specimen for analysis.
But District Judge Peter Veits had decided at Lincoln magistrates’ court that his drunken state was a ‘reasonable excuse’ for his failure. He was allowed to carry on driving because the judge said he had not ‘wilfully’ refused to co-operate.
But an appeal, costing thousands, is now under way.
Mark Weekes told the High Court: ‘Physical incapacity by means of excessive drunkenness could neither be a valid excuse nor a defence to the charge.’ But Camp’s lawyers say police officers failed to follow procedures because they did not take samples of his blood or urine instead.
Rules state that police can request urine or blood samples if the breath test device is not available or is not working correctly or if the driver is medically unable to give a breath test. It is not known why one was not taken in this case.
The appeal ruling will be given at a later date. The breath test dates back 50 years. At present, drivers in England and Wales are permitted to give a reading up to 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – a level which has not changed since the tests were introduced in 1967.
But there have been calls for the drink-drive limit to be lowered to bring it in line with the rest of Europe.
A survey by the RAC found three in five motorists were in favour of a reduction on the current limit.
Anyone convicted of failing to provide a specimen faces at least a 12-month driving ban and, in some cases, could be jailed for up to three years.
Reasonable excuses for not complying may also include the mental state of the arrested person or, in the case of a blood test, an aversion to hypodermic needles but typically, evidence of this would need to be produced.
‘Failed to follow procedures’