An £86,000 fine faced by TV presenter Ant McPartlin following his drink-driving conviction could have been much higher, according to Paul Loughlin, a specialist in motoring law at Stephensons.
McPartlin pleaded guilty to drink-driving and, alongside the fine, was banned from driving for 20 months on Monday (April 16).
However, Loughlin believes that the fine McPartlin received should be considered a relatively lenient one.
“The sentencing guidelines are pretty clear,” he said. “Penalties for drink driving are tied to the earnings of the defendant and calculated as a percentage of those earnings.
“If reports are to be believed, McPartlin has a take-home pay of £130,000 and the fine of £86,000 imposed by the court comes in well short of the calculation usually used.”
Considered a band ‘C’ offence, it carries a minimum of 125% to 175% relevant or ‘take-home’ weekly income.
“This means that McPartlin could technically have received a fine of up to £227,500,” continued Loughlin. “However, the court would usually use a starting point of 150% and would then reduce that by a third due to the timeliness of the guilty plea.”
In short, had the court followed the guidelines to the letter, McPartlin would ordinarily have been fined a minimum of £130,000.
Loughlin concluded: “Given the aggravating circumstances at play in this case – the level of alcohol in his system, the collisions with two other vehicles and the reported injuries to individuals in those vehicles – it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the court would have chosen to impose a community order such as an unpaid work requirement, which is a more serious punishment.”