Tough lesson for drink driver

A “PANICKED” motorist has learned the hard way that it’s a bad idea to refuse to take a police breath test.

The Mildura Magistrates’ Court heard Joshua Raymond Peterson, 23, had the keys to his car seized after he refused to go back to Mildura police station for a further breath test.

He was intercepted in Red Cliffs on June 24 after police saw him fail to stop at a stop sign on Nardoo Street and an initial test indicated the presence of alcohol in his system.

Peterson’s counsel Bert Hilton-Wood told the court his client was “confused” and “panicked”, having been drinking the night before.

Peterson, who works as a machinery operator in Robinvale, had struggled after the death of his father earlier in the year.

Magistrate Michael Coghlan acknowledged Peterson had had a “rotten year” but said the mandatory minimum two years’ disqualification from driving for refusing to undergo a breath test left him with no discretion in the matter.

He acknowledged Peterson was “a good worker and a decent sort of man”.

“This is just such a shame because this is added on,” he said.

In addition to the two-year disqualification, Peterson was fined $400 plus statutory costs. 

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