A man caught driving a mobility scooter after consuming more than four times the legal alcohol limit has been let off from a drink-driving charge at a South West magistrates' court.
Despite three hearings, the court decided in the end that the scooter was too small to be classed as a road vehicle.
Mr James Spangenberg-Ferrelli was stopped by police officers in his home town of Tiverton in Devon. The attending police officers then asked him to provide a sample of breath, which was found to be high at 147mg of alcohol per 100ml.
The legal limit for drink driving is just 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The police officers decided to arrest him and he was charged with driving whilst unfit through drink and driving a motor vehicle whilst above the legal alcohol limit.
In a magistrates' hearing in Exeter on Thursday the Crown Prosecution Service decided to offer no evidence against Mr Spangenberg-Ferrelli. This was the third hearing he was due to attend.
Mr Spangenberg-Ferrelli's solicitor Rob Jacobs explained to Exeter magistrates' his client's position in a previous hearing.
"The issue is that his mobility scooter was in a public place but it was a footpath. The issue is also whether or not he was driving a mechanically-propelled vehicle."
Mr Jacob explained that he believed that mobility scooters are exempt as mechanically propelled vehicles because the user does not require a license to drive it.
"It is a little bit odd to punish someone and disqualify them from using a vehicle that does not require a driving licence," added Mr Jacob.
"My client explained to magistrates at an earlier hearing that he never drives it on the road as it is too dangerous."
Although many try to estimate how many alcoholic drinks equate to a safe amount, your blood alcohol content will vary depending on what you drink, whether you have eaten or not and your body size and metabolism. General advice is that the only way to stay safely within the law is to totally abstain from alcohol if you are considering driving.
Read more on the story (The Guardian)
Overview of drink-driving law (FindLaw)
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