Close run with jail

A Normanby man was given a choice yesterday - go to jail or get loaded up with community work.

Kara Warren Stevens chose community work but was left in no doubt about where he will end up if he chooses to drink and drive again.

Judge Allan Roberts grilled Stevens when he appeared for sentencing in the Hawera District Court yesterday on his third charge of drink-driving in 10 years.

"I'm not going to sit here and twiddle my thumbs while I wait for you to kill someone," the judge said.

The 29-year-old was stopped by police at about midnight on Eltham's Tayler St on April 5 and returned a result of 730 micrograms in a breath-alcohol test. The legal limit is 400mcg.

Roberts said the defendant told police he had finished his working week and had a few drinks to "relax and chill out".

Although Roberts said he had no issue with Stevens relaxing after work, it was his repeated drink-driving behaviour which concerned him, especially in light of a final warning given to the defendant for similar offending in 2010.

"Why don't you stop drinking and driving then? That's all I am asking of you," the judge said.

Instead of imprisonment, Roberts sentenced Stevens to 250 hours of community work and six months of supervision. Stevens will also be required to complete alcohol and drug counselling.

He was banned from driving for one year and one day. When eligible to drive again, Stevens will have to apply for a zero alcohol licence, which lasts for three years.

Taranaki Daily News