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Driving ban for Darlington father found behind the wheel in his underpants
A FATHER who refused to do a breath test when police found him trying to drive his stuck car in just his underwear has been spared jail.
Officers found Michael Hall, who was wearing grey boxers, socks and a black jacket, revving the engine of his Vauxhall in an attempt to free it from a grassy verge in Darlington on New Year’s Day.
Lorraine Cooper, prosecutor at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, said a resident of Rockwell Avenue in the town heard loud music being played at about 10pm and discovered it was coming from Hall’s car.
She said Hall, 30, was standing in the street about five houses away in his underpants with the music blaring from his car.
The resident went out to speak to Hall, who then got in his car and drove after the man asking him if he could have a word with Hall’s partner after the pair had argued and he had been kicked out.
Police were then called after Hall, of Hutton Avenue in Darlington, reversed his car onto a grassy area where the vehicle became stuck.
Ms Cooper said officers arrived at 10.18pm and saw Hall’s car rocking backwards and forwards with the wheels spinning and engine revving.
The vehicle became free just as an officer approached the car, and Hall was told to get out.
Ms Cooper said the officer could smell alcohol and believed Hall was drunk as his eyes were glazed and pupils constricted.
At the police station Hall, who admitted drinking three cans of lager, refused to give a sample of breath.
Ms Cooper said Hall has three previous convictions for drink driving.
Jonathan Harley in mitigation said his client, a steel fixer, was totally ashamed of his behaviour.
Mr Harley said Hall had taken the “stupid decision” not to give a sample as he believed the arresting officer had been “overly oppressive”.
Mr Harley said Hall is a doting family man and he has turned his life around.
Magistrates told Hall he could easily have been jailed, but instead gave him a 12-month community order with 150 hours unpaid work and a three-year driving ban.
He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.