A KAROOLA man who got drunk and crashed his ute on his own property was only charged with driving under the influence because he called emergency services afterwards.
Peter Allan Baker, 57, was drinking earlier this year with his girlfriend when he decided to take her for a drive in his new Mitsubishi Trident.
En route to the cows, Baker ploughed the vehicle into a gum tree, sending his loved one into the windshield, as well as injuring himself and his dog so bad it needed a leg amputation.
Responsibly, Baker called Triple 0 and assumed he could not be charged with drink driving on private property.
When the police arrived, however, they told him otherwise and he recorded a blood alcohol reading of .149.
In court this week, Baker’s lawyer Grant Tucker said “98 per cent” of the community would have made the same assumption.
“He didn’t think he was breaking the law,” Mr Tucker said.
“You can drive while drinking on your own property – as long as you don’t have an accident.”
Baker subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of driving a motor vehicle while exceeding the prescribed alcohol limit.
Shards of glass needed to be removed from her eye of his partner as a result of the crash.
Baker also suffered a broken ankle, three broken ribs and a wrist injury.
The crash caused $7000 damage to the new ute.
“He wasn’t putting members of the public at risk,” Mr Tucker told Magistrate Sharon Cure.
Baker considered a not guilty plea, but on the advice of Mr Tucker he decided to plead guilty, after Ms Cure told Mr Tucker “(Baker was) highly likely to be convicted if he pleads not guilty”.
Ms Cure acknowledged that it was important for motorists to realise they could be prosecuted for driving drunk on their own land.
Baker was fined $1256.
He has since cut the gum tree down.