A man was highly intoxicated when he removed a sleeping passenger from a car that was not his and used it to drive his friends home.
Mosese Vulivavalagi Caginitoba Tamata left the sleeping passenger on the footpath, turned the key that was already in the ignition and began driving.
It was 2.55am when the way Tamata was driving attracted the attention of police, who pulled him over and breath-tested him.
An evidential breath test showed that Tamata had a breath alcohol level of 982 micrograms, almost four times higher than the limit.
Tamata appeared in Whanganui District Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and having a breath alcohol level of over 400mcg.
Police prosecutor Graham Hoskin said Tamata was intoxicated at a Whanganui address when the victim showed up in her car with friends.
"They went inside the address to see their friend for about three minutes," Hoskin said.
"[Tamata] was on the porch of the address. [The victim] saw him leave.
"He walked over to the car, removed the intoxicated person, leaving him on the footpath. He got into the driver's seat, he offered two associates a ride, they got in and drove from the address."
When pulled over, Tamata told police that he had planned on taking his friends home, returning the car and then walking home.
Lawyer Stephanie Burlace told the court that Tamata does not own a car and works fulltime in the forestry industry.
"I have talked with him about alcohol use to try and gauge if there's an issue there that needs addressing," Burlace said.
"It doesn't appear to be so sir, he's certainly aware there are services available if he feels the need to do that in future."
Judge Philip Crayton said this was Tamata's first offending.
"Mr Tamata, you made a particularly unwise choice, no doubt because of the amount of alcohol you had.
"Given the amount of alcohol you drank, which was close to four times the amount you're allowed in your system when driving, it's probably lucky that the police stopped you before you did actual harm to yourself or others."
Judge Crayton sentenced Tamata to 80 hours' community work and disqualified him from driving for nine months.