Drink driving footballer gets 20 month ban

By Neil Logan

Stephane Sessegnon, a footballer in the Premier League, has been handed a 20 month driving ban after pleading guilty to a charge of drink driving and a number of insurance offences.

Mr Sessegnon, aged 29, was a player for Sunderland at the time of the incident, and his team was actually playing a cup match when he was arrested in Newcastle for drink driving on 27th August. He was found to be more than two times over the legal drink drive limit, and it was discovered that he did not have a valid drivers licence and the vehicle was not insured.

Mr Sessegnon's solicitor said that his client, who is originally from Benin was confused about the validity of his licence, which he had been able to drive in France under, and had assumed covered the rest of Europe. He also added that he had dank some wine at home, gone to sleep, and later got in the car to collect his sister from the city centre.

The judge gave Mr Sessegnon a 20 month driving ban with the possibility of reducing it to 15 months if he takes a driving rehabilitation course.

The case is not the first motoring offence involving a Premier League footballer, but does illustrate two very common problems that cause a lot of people to be charged with a driving offence. The first is a lack of understanding on the rules of driving in a foreign country under your own National drivers licence. Anyone driving in a country under a licence that was not issued there should inform themselves of whether it is valid, and for how long it can used before they will be required to obtain a drivers licence from that country.

Secondly, there is still a wide misconception among the public as to how much alcohol you can drink before you would fail a breathalyser test, and how long after drinking you have to wait for the effects of the alcohol to fade. The safest rule to abide by is to not get behind the wheel if you have had even one alcoholic drink, but otherwise it is important to understand the units of alcohol you consume, and be aware of the legal drink drive limit.

If you require legal advice or representation from a motoring specialist solicitor in Northern Ireland in respect of a driving offence, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 0546.