An Eldorado man who has been struggling with alcoholism for decades downed 10 beers with a mate then got in his car and drove, a court has heard.
He had suffered a relapse, his lawyer said, because it was the 12-month anniversary of his mother's death.
Darren Charles Kelly's drinking session left him with a blood alcohol content of five times the legal limit at 0.254.
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This came just three years after his previous high-range drink-driving conviction and was one of several similar incidents over many years.
But defence solicitor Mark Cronin urged Albury Local Court magistrate Richard Funston to not impose a full-time jail sentence on his 54-year-old client.
Mr Cronin said Kelly had no licence and did not have a job and so would be living a very restricted lifestyle.
"The reality is he effectively will be serving a period of home detention at Eldorado," he said.
Kelly pleaded guilty to driving with a high-range prescribed concentration of alcohol, which followed his arrest in Albury on the afternoon of March 20.
He took part in a binge-drinking session in Lavington with an alcoholic friend, Mr Cronin said, and it was Kelly's erratic driving on the Hume Highway that brought him to the attention of police just after 3pm
"He's dealt with alcoholism for over 25 years," he said.
Mr Cronin said Kelly had attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for 15 years, "but sadly, like many people with this illness they fall off the wagon".
Mr Funston warned Kelly there was no doubt he was "facing a jail sentence today".
"Mr Kelly, there'll always be some sadness or some celebration; that's just the difficult position for an alcoholic," he said.
But Mr Funston also acknowledged that Kelly had "lost everything" as a result of his drinking.
Prosecutor Sergeant Andrew Pike said that while it was not an offence to be an alcoholic, "it's an offence to jump behind the wheel when you've had 10 beers".
Kelly, the court heard, had not eaten for several days.
Mr Funston said Kelly's story was "a tragic matter".
"If alcohol wasn't a problem for Mr Kelly he wouldn't be here," he said.
"You just have to abstain from alcohol ... you know that. What the sergeant has said today (is) you should be locked up today."
But instead, Mr Funston imposed a three-year community corrections order and disqualified him from driving for three years.