Drink-driver handed prison time after eighth offence
CHRISTMAS knock-off drinks have landed a repeat drink-driver behind bars.
Woodburn man Peter James Felsch had finished early with his workmates on December 21 last year, their last day of work before Christmas.
The road plant operator, 58, appeared before Ballina Local Court for sentencing on Thursday.
He had been caught mid range drink-driving just after 5.30pm on Whyratta St at Woodburn.
Felsch had told police he had been drinking since midday, and had suspected he was over the limit before he returned a reading of 0.125, two and a half times the legal limit.
He had one adult passenger at the time.
His lawyer, Jim Fuggle, told the court his client had lost his job as a result of the charge and had a mortgage with his partner.
"It was the last day of work prior to last Christmas," Mr Fuggle said.
"He had been out with friends from work.
"My submission is that he can be dealt with in the community .. by way of intensive corrections order or another order."
Magistrate Karen Stafford said Felsch, now convicted of his eighth drink-driving offence, had been given plenty of opportunities.
"One wonders how many more chances you were expecting to receive," Ms Stafford said.
"Until I saw your traffic history ... my view was this was a matter where you could serve a term of imprisonment in the community.
"That's not going to happen here today.
"That's because you had seven prior drink-driving offences.
"They've given you fines, good behaviour bonds, community service orders and you've reoffended."
Ms Stafford said while Felsch was last before the court in 2013, there "needs to be a denunciation" of his behaviour.
"There needs to be some great recognition of the great harm (drink-driving) has done to the local community," she said.
The court heard Felsch had just a 1km journey from the pub to his home, but Ms Stafford said he still could have hurt, or killed, someone.
Felsch had admitted to drinking two VB cans, two or three middies of the same beer and one glass or rum and coke.
Ms Stafford sentenced him to five months' full time prison and the mandatory disqualification period.