Thurles District Court
A Thurles driver who was found intoxicated at the wheel of a parked car that had its engine on, was disqualified from driving for two years at Thurles district court.
Garda Karen Barber told Judge Elizabeth MacGrath that she took up duty in a patrol car in Thurles on December 21, 2019. She received a call concerning a crashed car in a ditch in Monadreen, Thurles, at 4.10am.
At the scene, garda Barber noticed the silver Skoda Fabia was facing forwards into a ditch.
The driver, Ralfs Rudzitis, of 41 Marlstone Manor, Thurles, was in the front seat. The engine was running, the keys were in the ignition, and the lights were on, said garda Barber.
Mr Rudzitis’s eyes were bloodshot, and there was a smell of intoxicating liquor. Mr Rudzitis said he had stopped drinking at 2am. At 4.40am, garda Barber formed the opinion that Mr Rudzitis was intoxicated to an extent as to be incapable of properly controlling a motorised vehicle.
Mr Rudzitis was placed in the rear of a patrol car and taken to Thurles garda station. Mr Rudzitis provided a sample of breath which showed a breath/alcohol concentration of 45/100. The legal limit is 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath for an experienced driver.
At 5.34am, Mr Rudzitis was charged with driving with excess alcohol in his system. Garda Barber added that the car was not crashed, but parked facing a hedge in the estate.
Solicitor JJ Fitzgerald put it to garda Barber that there was no intention to drive on behalf of Mr Rudzitis. Garda Barber said the ignition was on, the keys were in, and the lights were on.
“He was awake when I approached the driver’s side,” she said.
Garda Dara Rogers gave evidence that he was the trained user of the evidenser machine. Garda Rogers noticed a smell of intoxicating liquor from Mr Rudzitis, and his speech was slurred. The result showed 45/100, said garda Rogers.
Judge MacGrath said she was satisfied that the necessary proofs had been met.
Sgt Thomas Hanrahan said Mr Rudzitis has no previous convictions.
Mr Fitzgerald said Mr Rudzitis has worked in a local factory in Thurles for about three years, and earns about €500 per week. It was an “unfortunate occurrence” and while the reading was “not extremely high”, “there will be consequences for him,” said Mr Fitzgerald.
Judge MacGrath imposed a fine of €200 on Mr Rudzitis, with eight months to pay, and disqualified him from driving for the mandatory period of two years.
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