Drink-driver was three times limit

A FATHER-of-nine who drove while more than three times the drink-drive limit has received a suspended prison sentence.

On June 3, after being involved in a two-car collision in Bury St Edmunds, Antonio Lopes was breathalysed and recorded 117 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.

At Bury Magistrates’ Court on Monday, Tess Mann, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was driving along the A143, which is a main artery of Bury, and was involved in a collision with another vehicle. Alcohol was smelled on his breath and he provided a positive road side breath test.”

She said he had a previous conviction for drink-driving in 2007.

Lopes, 46, of Rope Walk, Thetford, had already pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and failing to surrender to bail.

On Monday, Nick Wray, in mitigation, said Lopes had slept before driving but suggested Lopes had drank more and slept less than he recalled.

He described Lopes as a hard-working family man who was ‘trying to make his way in Britain’.

District Judge Celia Dawson called the offence ‘exceptionally serious’ and said: “You could have harmed yourself very badly, worse still you could have hurt someone else.”

Lopes received 28 days in prison for drink-driving and 14 days, to run consecutively, for failing to surrender, suspended for 12 months.

He was disqualified from driving for 48 months, required to complete a drink-drive course and ordered to pay £85 in costs.