A SUSPECTED drink driver who claimed he got inside his car to keep warm has appeared in court for refusing to take an alcohol test.

Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard today (Tuesday, December 18) that police officers found Arnis Tremarsis, 40, asleep at the wheel of his car on Mowden Street with the engine running and its lights on at about 9am on December 4.

Prosecuting, John Garside said that when the officers woke Tremarsis, he “appeared under the influence of alcohol and had difficulty getting out of the car”.

Tremarsis failed a roadside breath test, but once at the police station he refused to provide a specimen for analysis.

He pleaded guilty to this offence in court.

Mitigating, Laura Moorby said Tremarsis had been out with friends but the designated driver could only take one person home at a time.

She said that while he waited for his friend to return, Tremarsis got into his car to keep warm.

“He fully accepts that he got into the vehicle and started the engine in order to put the heating on,” said Ms Moorby.

“It was the 4th of December, it was obviously cold and that was his reason for getting into the car at all.”

Ms Moorby said that Tremarsis, of Bedford Street, Derby, was a self-employed joiner and needed to drive for his job.

Magistrates banned him from driving for 12-months, fined him £300 and ordered him to pay £85 court costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

He was given the option to reduce his ban by three months upon completion of a drivers’ rehabilitation course.