He thought it was okay to sleep it off in the car.
He thought it was okay to sleep it off in the car.

Sleeping it off in the car a 'no no' for drunks

REALISING he was over the drink-driving limit, a 35-year-old Toowoomba man had curled up and gone to sleep in his car parked on Ruthven St - but the snooze didn't help his cause.

CitySafe operators had watched as Michael Andrew Mercer walked to his work ute parked on Ruthven St in Toowoomba's CBD in the early hours of August 4.

Having unlocked the driver's door with his keys, the ute's lights came on and he had then activated the vehicle's hazard lights before getting into the driver's seat, police prosecutor Eddie Fraser told Toowoomba Magistrates Court.

Police alerted to the suspect driver, had arrived to find the 35-year-old asleep in the car and had to bang on the vehicle's windows to wake him.

He blew a breath/alcohol reading of 0.149, Mr Fraser said.

He admitted to police having drunk alcohol earlier at various licence premises.

Mercer pleaded guilty to being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the middle alcohol limit.

His solicitor Nick Smith, of Bernays Lawyers, told the court his client had been of the belief that he could sleep inside the vehicle as long as he had no intention of driving it.

He had since explained the law to his client, Mr Smith said.

Because his client had work clothes and equipment in the passenger seat of the utility, he had climbed into the driver's seat to sleep, he said.

His client instructed that the vehicle's lights automatically came on when he unlocked the ute but he had accidentally activated the hazard lights.

Magistrate Damian Carroll said he accepted that Mercer had believed it was okay to sleep in the car at the time but had been mistaken.

Ordering the conviction not be recorded, Mr Carroll fined Mercer $1000 and disqualified him from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for six months but, upon application, granted a restricted driver's licence to be used for work purposes only.



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