‘Misplaced chivalry’ blamed for drink-driver’s decision to get behind wheel

Chivalry and unexpectedly strong craft beer were among the excuses offered by another batch of drink-drivers in the Queenstown District Court on Friday.

The higher the alcohol levels recorded, the odder the excuses seemed to be.

Albert Town man Jack William Balloch recorded a breath-alcohol level of 937mcg — nearly four times the legal limit — after he stopped short of a police checkpoint on the Wanaka-Luggate Highway about 9.15pm on May 25.

The police summary of facts said the 28-year-old showed signs of intoxication, and there was an open bottle of alcohol in his cupholder.

Balloch, who had his girlfriend with him, told police he had drunk "about 10 beers" at his rugby club.

He claimed he had called a taxi, but the driver refused to drive them because his girlfriend, also intoxicated, was being physically sick.

Defence counsel Tanya Surrey said the defendant decided to drive out of "misplaced chivalry" because he wanted to get his girlfriend home.

Community magistrate Sarah Steele said it was "quite terrifying" to think there were people driving on the roads with that much alcohol in their systems.

She convicted Balloch, imposed a fine of $470 and ordered him to pay court costs of $130.

After a 28-day stand-down, he can apply for an alcohol-interlock licence.

After the minimum 12-month interlock period, he will be subject to a zero-alcohol licence for three years.

The community could "take some comfort" in the knowledge Balloch could not legally drive with alcohol in his system for at least the next four years, Ms Steele said.

However, Wanaka man Mathew Allan Ottley had even more alcohol in his system when he was stopped by police on Northlake Dr about 8.30pm on May 10.

The 35-year-old admitted to drinking "about three pints", and elected to take a blood-alcohol test.

The result was 213mg — equivalent to a breath-alcohol reading of 1085mcg, and more than four times the limit.

When Ms Steele suggested he must have drunk more than three pints to have such a "frighteningly high" result, Ottley said he had been drinking craft beer, and did not realise how strong it was.

He was convicted and fined $535, and ordered to pay court costs of $130 and medical and analyst fees of $265.34.

He can also apply for an alcohol interlock licence after 28 days.