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A man has pleaded guilty to drink-driving at Brighton Magistrates Court, as well as driving with his son in the back seat without a seatbelt.

39-year-old Soufan Firas blamed drinking on an empty stomach for being over the limit when he was caught early in the morning on New Years Day while returning from a party at which he was DJ-ing.

Prosecuting, Martina Sherlock told the court: “At 2.40am an officer on patrol saw another car in front of him swerving and braking unnecessarily in response to traffic on the other side of the road.

“The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver who had his wife in the front passenger seat. A roadside breath was conducted and there was a positive presence of alcohol. The officer then saw a young child asleep curled up on the back seat without any seatbelt or other restraint being used.”

On testing, Firas was found to have 62mcg alcohol per 100ml breath, where the legal limit is 35mcg.

Alan Prosser, in Firas’ defence using a Syrian interpreter, told the court how his client had been DJ-ing at a party in Hove and drinking on an empty stomach.

He said: “He had been involved in the music at the party and as a result had not had the opportunity to eat any food. He was not aware he had drunk over the drink-drive limit and feels the situation arose as he drank on an empty stomach.

“He was driving a short distance from the party to his home address in Brighton.

“The erratic driving described was when he heard the click of a seatbelt and realised his child had become restless and released the belt.”

“The defendant at that point was trying to manoeuvre his car to stop so his wife could adjust the seatbelt.”

The Chief of Magistrates banned Firas from driving for 20 months and fined him £120, plus £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge for the drink-driving charges, and also fined him £40 for his child not wearing a seatbelt.