Jason Dixon, 32, is starting 10 weeks behind bars after a judge said his latest crime alone may have seen him sent down.
He was almost three-and-half times the limit when breathalysed at his address in Coach Road Estate, Washington, on Monday, June 28 last year.
Police attended after a tip off from a garage employee who feared he had been drunk at the outlet – and had watched him drive off.
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South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard he also struggled to use his cash card during the store visit at around midnight.
Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said: “He drove his Nissan Qashqai into the Jet service station at Concord.
“The employee noticed he was unsteady on his feet and was struggling to hold his card. He drove away and she notified the police.
“Officers went to his address and he answered the door. He was heavily intoxicated.”
Dixon gave a reading of 116mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.
The Nissan worker denied the drink-drive allegation but changed his plea to guilty on the day of trial last month.
Dixon also appeared in court for driving with excess alcohol in 2012 and 2015.
Alastair Naismith, defending, urged District Judge Zoe Passfield Dixon to impose a suspended sentence, saying the defendant would benefit from rehabilitation in the community.
Mr Naismith told the court: “The main issue that’s going to concern you are the two previous convictions for the same offence.
“He is saying he is sorry. He will do the work the Probation Service has suggested. He understands the seriousness of what he’s done.”
Jailing Dixon, Judge Passfield said: “This is your third conviction in 10 years for driving with excess alcohol.
“This reading is particularly high. Even without your previous convictions the starting point is a prison sentence.”
As well as a custodial sentence, Dixon was also banned from driving for four years and five weeks, and he must pay a £128 victim surcharge.