Drink driver caught without lights on did not have full licence

The road markings on Argyle Street in Ipswich have been repainted in the left-hand lane to make the

Mihaita-lucian Costea was stopped by police in Argyle Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich man caught drink driving at more than twice the legal alcohol limit without a full licence has been banned from the road for nearly four years. 

Mihaita-lucian Costea, 37, was seen by police behind the wheel of a black Audi A6 on Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, around 1.40am on Sunday, Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard. 

Officers noticed the Audi did not have its lights on, and flashed the car to indicate to the driver that this was the case, Lesla Small, prosecuting, told the court. 

But the lights were not switched on, despite another vehicle flashing the car, and police turned around to follow Costea. 

He was stopped by officers on Argyle Street and failed a roadside breath test. 

Costea initially gave false details to police before providing the correct information, and checks revealed he was driving on a provisional licence which had expired and was not insured.

In custody, Costea blew 82 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - more than twice the legal limit of 35mcg in 100ml of breath. 

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The court heard that Costea had a previous drink driving conviction from 2016, making him subject to a minimum three-year ban. 

Appearing in court via video link from Martlesham Police Investigation Centre on Monday, Costea, of Crescent Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to drink driving, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance. 

Lyndon Davies, mitigating, said Costea, who works at a car wash, initially provided the wrong details because he "panicked" before cooperating fully. 

Mr Davies said: "He tells me he had driven a short distance from his friend's address in Ipswich to a petrol station to get more alcohol." 

Costea accepts he should not have been driving at all, Mr Davies added. 

Mr Davies asked magistrates to consider offering Costea the drink driving rehabilitation course. 

Magistrates banned Costea from the road for 46 months and fined him £400 for the drink driving offence. 

He was also fined £240 for the licence offence and £80 for driving without insurance. 

Costea must also pay £105 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £72.