A last-leg trip back home to Albury from the Northern Territory turned to grief for a then-Lavington man when he filled up with booze instead of fuel, a court has heard.
James Dutton had been taking several days to complete the trip, then stopped with relatives at Mildura.
A disagreement that led to him being told to leave had him back behind the wheel in the middle of the night.
He got only as far as Balranald, where police pulled him over in the main street.
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His glazed and bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and, when he got out of his car, unsteady walk wasn't the only sign he shouldn't have been driving.
Dutton, now 36, gave a positive result to a preliminary breath test, as police expected.
But when he was later given a breathalyser test he returned a reading well on the way to five times the legal limit.
That result of 0.218 had him pleading guilty in Albury Local Court on Monday to driving with a high-range concentration of alcohol.
Police were well aware of their good fortune in pulling him over in Market Street on February 8 at 11.35pm.
"If police did not stop the accused, he would have been a high risk of having an accident and putting himself and other road users at risk," they said.
The breath analysis result was singled-out yesterday by magistrate Imad Abdul-Karim.
"It's a very high reading," he told Dutton's lawyer, Bronte Winn.
Ms Winn said it was in Dutton's favour though that his offending was not aggravated by errant driving.
She told the court how Dutton, who now lived in Western Australia, had finished working in the Northern Territory when he made the trip back to Albury.
It was while he was at Mildura that one of his cousins hit the outside of his car with a hammer and threatened that if didn't go immediately, he would continue to smash the car.
"He was very concerned about his safety."
The court was told that Dutton had drunk four 375ml cans of Carlton Mid and Carlton Dry between 10.30pm and 11.30pm, including two at his cousin's home.
His plan was to drive through the night to Albury, which meant he had about 400 kilometres to travel at the time of his arrest.
Mr Abdul-Karim convicted Dutton, placed him on a 30-month community corrections order and fined him $1000.
He was disqualified from driving for 12 months.