Introduction and Facts
Wayne Rooney, the Everton and Manchester United player who recently retired from international football at the tender age of 31, had a fairly bad day at the office on 17th September 2017 when Everton played Man U, with his old club trouncing his new one.
Things weren’t so great the next day when he appeared in Stockport Magistrates’ Court for an offence of drink driving. He had been stopped in the early hours of 1st September and was reported to have been over the limit. Tabloid interest was even greater after it was revealed that there was another young lady in the car with him. But this being a law blog, we have not interest in such matters, it’s all about the intoximeter in this place. And in this case, Mr Rooney blew 104 mcg (the legal level being 35)
He pleaded guilty, which isn’t always a given in drink drive cases – there’s a lot of people who spend a lot of money in an attempt to keep their licence.
You would probably have expected him to get hit with a large fine, but the District Judge in this case was a bit more subtle. There is a mandatory disqualification of at least 12 months. In this case, presumably because of the high reading, there was actually a two year ban.
The DJ imposed a Community Order with a requirement to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work, stating “he was “not convinced” that imposing a large fine “would have the same effect” as making Mr Rooney undertake work in the Community.
In addition, Mr Rooney was ordered to pay £85 costs (the standard rate for such a case) and a victim surcharge in the same amount.
Was this a fair sentence, or did Mr Rooney get a different kind of justice? There are Sentencing Guidelines for drink drive offences. You can see from that, the starting point is a medium level Community Order (which is generally taken as being 80-150 hours) and a disqualification for 23-28 months.
You can see from that, that Mr Rooney got exactly what we would have expected from the background facts of the case.
And if you are wondering whether the financial orders of £170 will hurt him, it probably won’t given his finances. However, the Court was told that the club will fine him two weeks wages, a fairly healthy £300,000, which will have much more of an impact.