Recidivist drink-driver will be staying sober... in prison

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 21/03/2014

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A Woodville man will have no trouble keeping his promise of staying sober, because he is about to spend several months in prison after he was caught drink-driving for the fifth time.

Matthew Hauwai, 29, already had four convictions for drink-driving when he was in a car in his home town on January 10.

He had been drinking and was disqualified from driving, having only recently served a sentence for the fourth offence.

Hauwai was doing wheelspin in his car when he was seen by police, who put on their flashing lights and pursued him.

He drove for a short distance before pulling over. Hauwai was breath-tested, and gave a reading of 1057 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

The legal limit is 400mcg.

At Hauwai's sentencing in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, defence lawyer Mark Alderdice said his client knew he was likely to go to prison.

While the drink-driving charge was bad enough, with the level more than 2 times the legal limit, it was the fact Hauwai also did not stop immediately, was disqualified from driving and lost traction that made the offending worse, Mr Alderdice said.

"He had also only recently finished a sentence for similar offending, which has to be added to the mix."

Mr Alderdice said Hauwai had made positive changes since his arrest.

He was employed by someone who thought he could have a leadership role in the future, and he had also promised to give up drinking.

Mr Alderdice said Hauwai's sister and mother both said he had not had a drink since the incident.

"I'm hopeful this is going to be the end of matters related to drinking for him."

Judge Gregory Ross said Hauwai had good long-term prospects, but had to go to prison.

"People would ask ‘what do you have to do [to get put in prison] after significant drink-driving convictions coupled with other matters'."

Judge Ross sentenced Hauwai to 10 months' jail and disqualified him from driving indefinitely.

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- Manawatu Standard

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The lower drink-driving limits from December are:

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