A serial drunk driver who impersonated his brother in an admittedly "foolish" attempt to cheat justice has avoided jail time.
The ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday heard Mitchell Fraser Twaddell was driving his brother's car when he was pulled over by police and handed over his brother's licence instead of his own.
Twaddell tested positive for drugs and, when summonsed to court to answer for the reading, pleaded guilty using his brother's name.
Prosecutor Lillian James on Wednesday said it was months later that Twaddell came clean to his brother about his "sustained and deliberately dishonest" conduct. She said Twaddell's brother hadn't attempted to get the wrongful drug driving conviction off his criminal record yet, but it had a "significant impact on him and his family".
Ms James said Twaddell's brother was nearing the end of a 12-month licence disqualification period. Twaddell's lawyer Paul Edmonds said his client was prepared to pay his brother's legal costs if necessary to get his conviction scrapped.
Mr Edmonds conceded his client was "no criminal mastermind", and said he "ensnared himself in his own web of lies" as soon as he gave his brother's driver's licence to police.
He said Twaddell foolishly and stupidly thought his brother could stay unawares about the crime, even though it would become apparent if he were pulled over by police and told his licence was disqualified.
"This is not a particularly sophisticated scheme at all," Mr Edmonds said on Wednesday.
"[It is] a particularly ill-thought-out, [immature], and stupid attempt to avoid a ... significant period of disqualification.
"It was inevitable that the defendant's deception would come to light."
Mr Edmonds said Twaddell was clearly not cut out for a life of crime, and argued against him receiving a full-time custodial sentence. He said Twaddell had a good history of employment as a labourer and truck driver among other things, and had only used methylamphetamine occasionally.
"[Twaddell] simply doesn't have the money to be using methlyamphetamine on a regular basis," Mr Edmonds said.
Magistrate James Stewart described Twaddell's case as "unusual", particularly because he was charged with pleading guilty in another person's name - an offence lawyers couldn't find a history of ACT convictions for.
Mr Stewart said Twaddell's offending was an abuse of his brother's trust, and an attempt at essentially cheating justice. He said Twaddell had a history of driving while on alcohol and drugs.
"To have an innocent man convicted of something he didn't do is just extraordinary," Mr Stewart said.
"Many of us [in the legal profession] work for decades to ensure that these things do not [happen]."
Mr Stewart sentenced Twaddell to 12 weeks' jail, which was suspended on the condition he be of good behaviour for two years. He fined Twaddell $3300 and disqualified him from driving for three years and nine months.
Twaddell's sentence accounted for several charges he pleaded guilty to, including making a false statement to police, two counts of drug-driving, and pleading guilty in another person's name.