A man who was repeatedly caught driving while on illicit drugs in Ballarat has been warned drug use could 'ruin' his life and send him to prison.
James Hampson, who now lives in Beaufort, pleaded guilty to six charges including driving with methamphetamine and cannabis present in his oral fluid and possession of methamphetamine at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.
Magistrate Ron Saines sentenced the 30-year-old to an 18-month community corrections order, with the requirements of 150 hours of unpaid community work and the completion of drug rehabilitation programs.
There is a path to rehabilitation set out for you but there are strict consequences that will come if you trash this opportunity.Magistrate Ron Saines
Hampson was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.
"I wish I could sentence you to come to court for a month to see the number of people (methamphetamine use) sends to jail," Mr Saines said.
"It is a good way to ruin your life and the lives of those around you... If you were to continue to engage in drug offences you will end up in prison."
Mr Saines said the sentence imposed was in part a measure of punishment, but for the large part putting in place support and frameworks around rehabilitation.
"This is an opportunity for you," he said.
"The first step in your rehabilitation is to accept responsibility for the choices you make. Until you do that you won't get far.
"There is a path to rehabilitation set out for you but there are strict consequences that will come if you trash this opportunity."
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Steve Repac told the court oral fluid tests on four occasions showed the presence of methamphetamine and cannabis while driving between January and June of this year.
On one occasion in May police caught Hampson in possession of 0.64 grams of methamphetamine after he was pulled over while driving.
Defence lawyer Grant Baars said Hampson was receiving ongoing treatment for serious injuries suffered in a car accident in 2009 that had also impacted his mental state.
He said Hampson had been restricted in employment as a consequence and was on the disability support pension.
Mr Baars also told the court Hampson has the support of his mother, has made friends with a new group of people who are encouraging him to better himself, is in the process of a mental health care plan and has regular GP treatment.
Hampson will return to court on May 21 for a progress report.
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