'Unusual circumstances': when sleeping in your car after a party is drink-driving

A 21-year-old Orange man was convicted of drink-driving without “technically” driving his car. 

The distinction did not matter in the eyes of the law and William Gregory Clark, of Burrendong Way, was fined $1100 and banned from driving for the minimum period of six months by magistrate Terry Lucas in Orange Local Court on Thursday. 

On February 2 Clark drove to his friend’s house and left his car parked out the front.

The two men then went to a party and left the car at the house. 

Solicitor Philip Boncardo said his client decided he had had enough of the party and after consuming “a few drinks” he left without his friend but went back to the friend’s house.

Instead of going to sleep in the caravan at the back of the friend’s house, or knocking on the door and waking the friend’s parents, Clark decided to sleep in his car, Mr Boncardo said. 

He told the court it was a hot night so Clark put they keys in the ignition and turned on the airconditioning. 

Police facts said officers had received a driving complaint at about 1.20am about a man slumped over the wheel of a car. 

Officers approached Clark in the car and said the passenger door was open, the car’s right indicator was on and the keys were in the ignition. 

Police tested Clark’s blood alcohol level and the result was 0.106. 

Mr Boncardo pleaded with Mr Lucas to give Clark a good behaviour bond because he would lose his job if he was convicted. 

“He did tell the police he’d driven, that’s not correct ... technically he wasn’t driving and it is an unusual set of objective circumstances,” Mr Boncardo said. 

Clark told police he had driven the car from the party but Mr Boncardo produced a bank statement and phone records to prove Clark had caught a taxi from the party, at about 11.15pm on February 1, to the friend’s house and said he did not intend to drive the car while drunk. 

Mr Lucas said he could not give Clark a good behaviour bond because he had previous traffic infringements.

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