Serial drink driver banned after fourth offence

Court news.
Court news.

A serial drink-driver has been banned for three years for his fourth offence - but escaped prison with a suspended sentence.

Lithuanian-born Jonas Stepakovas, 39, borrowed his friend’s Ford Fiesta after downing four beers because he wanted to buy cigarette papers.

Police saw him doing between 60mph and 80mph and swerving across the A10 between Ely and Littleport, Cambs.

They stopped him at a service station and a roadside breathalyser found he had 56 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls breath - 21 mgs over the legal limit.

Cambridge magistrates heard that Stepakovas had three previous convictions for drink-driving and had been banned before.

He was arrested twice in 2008 in Cambridgeshire, once for with drink driving, and on the second for drink driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

When he appeared in court for the second 2008 offence the banned driver claimed he was on his way to buy cough medicine from his wife when he was caught drink-driving.

Michael Judkins, mitigating, said on Thursday, July 30: “It was a rash, foolish and unnecessary outing to the petrol station and back to get a cigarette paper.

“When he was stopped he admitted he had had four beers.”

The court heard that Stepakovas, who lives with his wife and daughter, works at an aviation company.

Stepakovas, from Littleport, was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, in addition to the driving ban.

He was also fined £300 for driving with no insurance and ordered to pay £150 court charge, $85 costs.

Sentencing guidelines state that the minimum 12 month ban for drink-driving is increased to three years if the offender has had two convictions within 10 years.

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake, the road safety charity, said not enough is done to deter drink drivers from reoffending.

He said: “Brake has been concerned for some time that we are not doing enough to deter drink drivers from reoffending - at present, one in eight go on to do it again.

“It stands to reason that repeat offenders should face tougher penalties than first-timers, yet the maximum penalties for drink driving are currently the same no matter how many times you are convicted.

“Judges should be given the power to hand out longer prison sentences, up to two years, for repeat drink drivers.

“The use of alcohol interlocks should also be considered for high risk offenders - these devices can be installed in vehicles to prevent the engine being started unless a clean breath sample is provided.”