A South Essex road traffic solicitor has explained Ant McPartlin’s record-breaking drink driving fine.

When television presenter, Ant McPartlin was yesterday sentenced to a record-breaking fine of £86,000 and a 20-month driving ban after pleading guilty to drink driving, many people will have been shocked at quite how large the fine was.

However, according to road traffic solicitor, Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers Solicitors, which has offices in Basildon, Rayleigh, Thurrock and South Woodham Ferrers, this is the consequence of new sentencing guidelines, which were introduced last year.

“Mr McPartlin’s eye-watering fine of £86,000 is very significantly higher than those ordinarily seen in the Magistrates courts and, indeed, very much higher than what could have been imposed up until very recently,” said Jeremy Sirrell.

“The rationale is almost certainly that, because Mr McPartlin is a high earner, a fine of less than £86,000 simply would not represent any kind of real punishment.

“The judge had at her disposal, however, the options of a community sentence, including up to three hundred hours of unpaid community service work or imprisonment, either by way of a suspended sentence or an immediate sentence of imprisonment for up to six months.”

Changes to the sentencing guidelines for drink driving offences, introduced a year ago, mean that drivers convicted of drink driving can be fined as much as 175 per cent of their weekly income.

Jeremy Sirrell said there was little to indicate that the court was making an example of Mr McPartlin.

“It is clear that despite the lurid headlines suggesting a matter with significant aggravating factors, the judge did not find this to be the case when sentencing. This is reflected in the disqualification, which at 20 months, is exactly in line with Magistrates’ guidelines for this level of alcohol reading.”

However, he said that the real punishment for Mr McPartlin in the circumstances is, as for many people convicted of drink driving, not that handed down by the court but the broader impact of such a conviction on his life.