A FATHER has been banned from the roads after drink-driving erratically with his five-year-old son, who was not wearing a seatbelt, in the back seat.

Soufan Firas, 39, said drinking on an empty stomach at a New Year’s Eve party was to blame for him for getting behind the wheel drunk.

He admitted drink driving when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The court heard Firas was seen driving erratically in New England Road, Brighton, on his way back from a party on January 1.

Martina Sherlock, prosecuting, told the court: “At 2.40am an officer on patrol saw another car in front of him swerving and braking unnecessarily in response to traffic on the other side of the road.

“The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver who had his wife in the front passenger seat. A roadside breath was conducted and there was a positive presence of alcohol. The officer then saw a young child asleep curled up on the back seat without any seatbelt or other restraint being used.”

Firas was found to have 62 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 35 milligrammes.

Alan Prosser, defending, said Firas, who used a Syrian interpreter, had been a DJ at a party in Hove where he had been drinking on empty a stomach.

He told the court: “He had been involved in the music at the party and as a result had not had the opportunity to eat any food. He was not aware he had drunk over the drink-drive limit and feels the situation arose as he drank on an empty stomach.

“He was driving a short distance from the party to his home address in Brighton.

“The erratic driving described was when he heard the click of a seatbelt and realised his child had become restless and released the belt.

The defendant at that point was trying to manoeuvre his car to stop so his wife could adjust the seatbelt.”

Firas of Preston Road, Brighton, pleaded guilty to driving while over the alcohol level limit and driving a motor vehicle on a road with a child passenger in the rear not wearing a seatbelt.

Chairman of magistrates Barney Miller disqualified him from driving for 20 months for drink-driving. He was also fined £120 and made to pay £85 in costs and £30 victim surcharge.

He was fined £40 for his child not wearing a seatbelt.