Manchester

Lawyer admits drink-driving and is banned for 18-months

Neal Etherington Image copyright Cavendish Press
Image caption Tests showed lawyer Neal Etherington, 64, was almost twice the alcohol limit

A lawyer who specialises in traffic cases has been banned from driving for 18 months after being caught drink-driving in his Jaguar sports car.

Neal Etherington, 64, was stopped by police near his home in Hale, Greater Manchester at 22:00 GMT on 11 December.

Tests showed he was almost twice the legal alcohol limit.

The lawyer admitted drink-driving but claimed he was unsteady on his feet as he was getting out of a car ''six inches off the ground".

Representing himself, Etherington told Manchester Magistrates Court: "Being 'unsteady on my feet' is a somewhat trite comment. I'm 64 getting out of a vehicle six inches off the ground so anyone would be.

"But I'm guilty as charged and I haven't and won't drink drive again. I have zero tolerance to it."

Etherington, who was stopped after police got a tip-off he was drunk at the wheel, provided a reading of 66 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Image copyright Cavendish Press
Image caption Police stopped Etherington in his Jaguar sports car near his home in Hale on 11 December

He described himself as a "careful driver" who had a clean driving licence and had not had an accident "in over 40 years".

According to his LinkedIn page the former insurance claims handler worked as a solicitor at a "no win no fee" firm in Wilmslow and specialised in investigating road traffic accidents and thefts for clients.

He said: "I was self-employed at the time and investigated road traffic accidents and vehicle thefts ironically.

"I obviously can't work for them as I won't be able to go out and help witnesses. I'm unemployed from now."

Prosecuting Miss Laura Peers told magistrates: "A member of the public said they suspected the defendant was driving under the influence along Hale Road.

"Police officers attended at 22:00 GMT and they smelled alcohol on his breath and he was unsteady on his feet. He provided a roadside sample which he failed and was taken into custody."

In addition to the 18-month driving ban Etherington was also fined £120 and ordered to pay £117 in costs and surcharges.

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