‘My lawyer is going to take me down,’ says drunk driver who overshot limit almost four times

On Monday, two drunken drivers appeared in Nelson District Court.  (File photo)

Warwick Smith / Stuff

On Monday, two drunken drivers appeared in Nelson District Court. (File photo)

A man found four times over the limit has told police he likes to drink and his lawyer will drop him from the charges.

Richard Alan Flintoft, 56, appeared in Nelson District Court on Monday, pleading guilty to a third case of drunk driving.

The police summary says police arrested Flintoft on High St Motueka at 6.28pm on December 11, 2021, after responding to a complaint.

A breath test gave a reading of 974 micrograms of alcohol per liter of breath, nearly four times the legal limit of 250 mcg.

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According to the summary, Flintoft told police, “I like to drink, I’ve been doing it for years and it doesn’t matter because my lawyer will get me off.”

Flintoft’s attorney, Mark Dollimore, said his client’s last conviction was nearly 25 years ago.

After years of being cautious, he had “had a burnout,” Dollimore said.

“He works as a builder, he’s under a lot of pressure and he was down because he hadn’t seen his teenage daughter in a while…he’s hit a meltdown scenario.”

The comments to police were an attempt at humor, Dollimore said.

“He thought he was funny, he was drunk…he’s not saying he’s been driving drunk for years, that was just a frivolous comment.”

Judge Jo Rielly fined Flintoft $1,130 and banned him from driving for 28 days. After this period, he could request an alcohol ignition interlock device.

Georgia Shirley Victoria Howe, 34, also pleaded guilty to a charge related to an incident on Jan. 16.

The police summary says Howe’s vehicle was spotted by police on St Vincent St at 12:16 a.m. Its headlights were off and the vehicle was crossing the center line.

After a breath test returned 897 mcg, Howe told police she had had three glasses of wine and was on her way to help a friend.

Howe’s lawyer, Dollimore, said it was the anniversary of the death of a close friend and that Howe had had a drink.

Then, worried that a friend “was going through a domestic violence situation,” Howe made the mistake of getting into her car, Dolimore said.

Howe was a full-time parent of three children with health issues. She had a steady job and was also training to “be better,” he said.

Judge Rielly said the decision to drive was “inexcusable”. “It’s a shame to celebrate the death of a friend with alcohol and then choose to drive.”

Rielly fined Howe $1,030 and barred her from driving for 28 days, after which she could apply for an alcohol interlock permit.

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