Glasgow & West Scotland

Drink driver Paul Findlay spared jail after appealing sentence

A drink driver, who was three times over the legal limit on a motorway, has had his jail term overturned on appeal.

Paul Findlay was originally jailed for four months and banned from driving for two years, after admitting the charge at Hamilton Sheriff Court.

But the 51-year-old, from Bathgate, West Lothian, challenged the sentence at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh.

Appeal judges imposed a community payback order of 300 hours of unpaid work in place of the jail term.

Findlay had returned to Scotland from Blackpool when police were called to an accident on the M74, near Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, in November last year.

Penalty 'excessive'

Officers found a single damaged car. Findlay identified himself as the driver following the incident.

The court was told he had 107mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, when the legal limit was 35mg.

Findlay's counsel Tony Graham told judges at the appeal court that the penalty was "excessive", citing that Findlay had never had a custodial sentence before and an alternative penalty was available.

But Lord Drummond Young said that as Findlay was three times over the legal limit and had been driving on a very busy road, the sheriff had been right to take a serious view of the offence.

However, he said the appeal judges were persuaded that it would be appropriate to impose a community payback order with "a stringent unpaid work requirement" rather than imprisonment.

He imposed the maximum period of 300 hours unpaid work.

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