A window cleaner who risked going to jail by getting behind the wheel of a car has been given a chance to keep his freedom.
Brian Dodds was banned from the roads for dangerous driving in 2007 and ordered to pass an extended test or remain disqualified.
Since then, the 47-year-old has clocked up 17 convictions for driving offences and never sat the required test.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Dodds was seen behind the wheel again on the early morning of December 8 last year.
Officers spotted him driving a Ford Mondeo at Hylton Road, in Sunderland.
Dodds, of Railway Terrace, Washington, who was on a suspended sentence for violence at the time, admitted driving while disqualified and having no insurance.
Stuart Graham, defending, told the court: "The probation service is concerned he has come to the end of the road, he can't stop getting into cars.
"He was driving in order to keep working. He was working as a window cleaner, there were actually ladders on the vehicle at that time.
"He had had that job for three years.
"He wasn't joyriding around. There was nothing dangerous about the driving.
"He simply was driving because of wanting to keep working."
Mr Graham said Dodds has now moved away from the area to his family home in Carlisle and has made significant changes to his life.
Mr Recorder John Aitken said Dodds has a "poor" driving record and told him: "In 2007 you were ordered to take a mandatory extended retest because of dangerous driving.
"That means you have been disqualified for a lengthy period.
"You have previously driven while disqualified and been given a sentence of imprisonment but it has not stopped you."
The judge said despite Dodds' bad record, he has not committed a driving offence for three years.
He deferred sentence until September to give Dodds a chance to prove he can keep out of trouble.
Dodds was granted bail in the meantime.