No conviction for drink-driver

A man caught drink-driving twice in a fortnight had drunk several bottles of wine before getting behind the wheel, a court has heard.

The 28-year-old avoided a conviction in Bendigo Magistrates Court on Monday after pleading guilty to two charges of drink-driving and one count each of driving while suspended and not wearing a seat belt.

The Kennington man was pulled over by police on Skene St in Bendigo for not wearing a seat belt on June 13.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Karl Mannes told Bendigo Magistrates Court the officer could smell alcohol and breath tested the driver.

Further tests conducted at Bendigo Police Station showed a blood alcohol reading of 0.191, almost four times the legal limit.

Senior Constable Mannes said the man was issued with a Section 51 notice which immediately suspended his licence.

Less than two weeks later, on June 26, the same officer saw the man driving his purple Subaru on Mackay St while suspended.

Breath tests showed a blood alcohol reading of 0.236, almost five times the legal limit.

The court heard the man told police he didn't realise his licence suspension had already begun.

He said he'd been up until 2 or 3am the night before being pulled over on each occasion and had drunk between two-and-a-half and three bottles of wine.

Defence lawyer Alex McLennan told the court his client had struggled with alcohol for more than five years and had been engaged in rehabilitative programs.

But he said the man had fallen off the wagon after splitting with the mother of his two children early this year. 

Magistrate Jennifer Tregent ordered the man complete 100 hours of unpaid work as part of a community corrections order, which would also require him to engage in treatment for his alcohol problems.

She said she would not record a conviction because the man had not previously been before the court.

Ms Tregent said it was clear he had tried to seek help for his alcohol issues before and had been unsuccessful.

But she condemned his behaviour and warned him he'd be facing jail if he found himself facing similar charges again.

"They were very, very high readings," Ms Tregent said.

"It's frightening to think that at 11 o'clock in the morning you could have such a high reading."

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