Jail and 17-year driving ban for repeat offender

A MOTORIST who has repeatedly got behind the wheel while drunk and unlicensed has been put behind bars and disqualified from driving for 17 years.

Graham David Hodges appeared in the Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to a total of 10 charges.

The court heard that during a five-month period, the 23-year-old had been caught driving while disqualified a total of four times and three of those times he was intoxicated.

On November 13 - just five days after being caught driving unlicensed in Warwick - the Warwick man was intercepted by police at Aratula with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.044.

An unlicensed driver is over the limit with any reading over 0.0.

Two months later Hodges was observed by police to "fishtail and swerve" through the roundabout on Locke and Dragon Sts.

He was again found to be unlicensed and this time returned a BAC of 0.047.

A month later, the still-unlicensed man tried to pull a swift one on police and attempted to swap seats when noticed driving in King St.

This time he was found to be more than twice the legal limit, with a reading of 0.139.

On a separate incident on January 4, Hodges entered an unlocked Warwick car and stole a GPS device from it.

Lawyer Phillip Crook yesterday told the court his client was a young father who conceded he had a problem with alcohol.

Mr Crook said his client was prepared to take steps to address this issue and asked Magistrate Graham Lee to spare him a jail term.

Noting Hodges had already been given a number of jail sentences for driving offences, Mr Lee retorted: "And you want me to release him back into the community today?"

His Honour told the young man that he simply could not let him walk free from court and said jail was the only option.

He sentenced Hodges to 12 months jail, to be paroled after serving three.

Hodges was also slapped with a 17-year driving ban, but can apply to have his licence reinstated after two years.



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