A DRIVER has been banned from the road after eating a box of chocolate liqueurs that pushed him over the legal limit.
Aivis Terps was pulled over by police on his way home after a party in Fraserburgh. The breathalyser reading showed he was nearly two and a half times the limit.
But the 27-year-old told police he had not had a drop to drink and could not explain the high reading. He claimed it later dawned on him that his system had been affected by several luxury chocolates he had eaten while at a party.
The treats were described as being the equivalent of a shot of vodka each.
Terps, from Peterhead, had been at a friend’s home during the evening of 6 April. About 2am, police arrived at the property following complaints from a neighbour about the noise. Police told him and others in the flat not to drive home if they had been drinking.
A short time later, they recognised Terps’s car, and the accused was pulled over in Fraserburgh.
Terps, who moved to Scotland from Latvia in 2008, admitted driving with excess alcohol.
His lawyer told the court: “He knew he had been eating liqueurs but he wasn’t drinking that night. These chocolates were about the size of bulbs and contained a high level of alcohol.”
At Peterhead Sheriff Court, Sheriff Richard McFarlane told Terps: “This is a significant drink-driving offence that you have committed. The breath-alcohol level is comfortably over twice the permitted amount.
“The source of the alcohol is of no notice or relevance to me.”
The father of one was fined £450 and banned from driving for 20 months.
The sheriff refused to give Terps a chance to take part in a drink-driver rehabilitation scheme, which could have shortened the disqualification period.
Though a relatively rare occurrence, Terps is not the first to claim to have gone over the limit inadvertently.
In January this year, Peter Smith, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, said that the only reason he was over the limit was that he had drunk half a bottle of mouthwash.
The 64-year-old said that he gargled with the liquid on the way to visit relatives who did not approve of his smoking and could not spit it out because he was driving. But his excuse was rejected and he was given a mandatory 12-month ban after admitting being nearly twice the legal limit.
In 2006, the model Caprice was banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay £3,500 after she admitted drink-driving. She claimed her alcohol level was distorted because she was taking an antibiotic for cystitis.
The possibility of more motorists being hit with drink-drive charges may increase with planned changes to the drink-driving limit.
Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said recently that though police had backed dropping the legal limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg, it could have legal repercussions. “It poses problems for the police and prosecution in terms of mouthwash, granny’s sherry trifle and chocolate liqueurs,” he said.