Driver's 18 weeks in jail after refusing breath test is timely reminder as Northamptonshire Police launches Christmas crackdown

Police stopped 38-year-old driving erratically on A43

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 9:16 am

A suspected drink-driver stopped the day after last year's Christmas crackdown ended finally got his comeupppance just in time for the new one to start.

Sergiu Chiriac was stopped driving erratically in a black Ford Galaxy on the A43 Lumbertubs Way on January 2 — and is now set to see in 2022 behind bars after being jailed for 18 weeks.

Northampton Magistrates Court heard Chiriac, 38, failed a roadside breath test and then refused to provide a second specimen while in custody. He denied the offence but was found guilty at a hearing in September and sentenced on November 24.

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Drink and drug-drivers will be targeted during the month-long crackdown

He was also jailed for 18 weeks after admitting driving while disqualified, although that sentence will run concurrently at the same time as the first.

Chiriac, of Longueville Court, Northampton, was also banned for a further four years and ordered to pay a total of £753 in prosecution costs and a surcharge to fund victim services.

Northamptonshire Police launched its 2021 Christmas drink and drug-driving crackdown on Wednesday (December 1) with a warning of extra roadside spot-checks and that anyone charged will be publicly named and shamed on the force website and social media.

PC Dave Lee from Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team said: “The risks of getting behind the wheel, not just on the night when you have been drinking, but also the morning after, could be fatal.

“It is simply not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and stay below the limit as the way alcohol affects you depends on a number of factors including weight, age, sex and metabolism.

“If you are out and know you will be drinking, make sure you have plans for getting home safely without driving.

"If you do have to drive, our advice is to avoid alcohol completely. The only safe limit is none.

“We don’t take the decision to continue to name all drivers charged with drink or drug driving lightly, however anyone who doesn’t want to be included on this list the message is simple: Do not drink or drug drive.”

Drivers who cause a death while driving under the influence of drink or drugs face up to 14 years in prison. Even if those fortunate not to be involved in a collision risk up to six months behind bars, an unlimited fine and a substantial driving ban.

However, The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink or drug drive conviction could cost up to £70,000 because of fines, solicitors fees, increase in the cost of car insurance and losing a job.

■ To report suspected drink or drug driving in confidence, call the Drivewatch Hotline on 0800 174615 or dial 101. In an emergency, call 999.