Daily Mail

Sales­man avoids driv­ing ban – be­cause he was too drunk for breathal­yser!

- By Claire Duf­fin Crime · England · England and Wales

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’

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