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Drink driver warned of consequences

A man with a history of drink driving has been slapped with a community detention sentence after getting behind the wheel drunk again. The judge told him that if there’s a next time, it could mean prison.

Clifton Eric Simpson, a 46-year-old decorator from Masterton, was driving on Chapel St Masterton on January 3 when he was stopped and breath-tested by police.

He blew 571 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, more than double the legal limit of 250mcg.

He appeared for sentencing in Masterton District Court yesterday, having admitted to drink driving and having had two or more previous drink driving convictions; the offence carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and a $6000 fine.

Defence lawyer Virginia Pearson said her client had completed 50 to 60 hours of voluntary community work since his last appearance, installing wall panelling at Masterton Young Citizen’s Club.

“He’s diligent; he’s doing what the court would expect of him to mitigate the outcome of him and his family,” Pearson said.

Judge Barbara Morris said driving while intoxicated creates significant danger on the road.

She noted Simpson’s previous drink driving convictions in 1995, 1998, and 2006.

However, she said Simpson’s guilty plea, stable family life, and voluntary work allowed her to give a lesser sentence.

“I see the good work you’ve achieved: you’ve stabilised your life, you have a supportive partner, and young children,” Judge Morris said.

“The challenge is on you now to make sure you don’t come back to this courtroom because if you do, there would be a starting point of jail.”

Simpson was sentenced to 80 hours of community work and nine months of supervision.

Judge Morris said he could apply to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to his car and then would only be allowed to drive that car for a year, after which he could apply for a zero-alcohol license.

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